Apr 19, 2013


I was just going to make some raspberry dessert, but then I noticed I needed ladyfingers for the recipe. I was out of ladyfingers so I made some. Especially since Julia Child said that the store bought cookies are "stale and dreadful". Coming from Julia...brrr. She was right. Those you make yourself using her instructions are a thousand times better. And I wasn't even using my electric mixer, which was occupied by another project. 

Beating egg whites by hand is a piece of cake. Beating yolks with sugar - not. I didn't get to the ribbon stage of the yolk mix. I stopped when my hand suggested so, after 2 minutes. I figured, perfectly beaten whites are more crucial to the recipe. Julia said it's all about the whites. The soft peak, the hard peak, the folding. 

I'm still wondering about the last step in chef's directions, after you apply powder sugar. She flips the baking sheet, with batter on, upside down, to shake of the excess of sugar. I think Julia and her friends were having some vino while preparing the recipe. I didn't do the flipping and I forgot the powder sugar till the cookies were already in the oven...for a minute. I took the sheet out and sifted a lot of sugar on top. I usually don't pay so much attention to the finishing ingredient amount. But here, the amount (over 1 cup) was not to be ignored. I don't know why yet. 

It's a very basic recipe, a good one to have at hand. It's fast and easy, with some practice in between. But even if not done perfectly, the fingers are still better than those from a package. 

Recipe adapted from Julia Child

time: 10 min preparation + 20 min baking = 30 minutes
makes about 25 cookies


  • 3 eggs separated room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) + 1 Tablespoon (15 g) sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, opened, seeds taken out (Julia asked for 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) flour
  • about 1 cup powder sugar
  • soft butter for greasing parchment paper

Preheat oven to 300F/150C (fan forced function). Prepare two baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, greased with butter and sifted slightly with flour (extra flour). Shake of excess flour. Measure out all the ingredients. Assemble a pastry bag with a tube opening 1/2 inch in diameter.  Although original recipe (Biscuits a la Cuillere), before Julia changed it, used just spoons.
In a bowl of a standing mixer, using a whisk attachment, on medium speed, beat egg yolks with vanilla gradually adding sugar till pale yellow.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt till soft peak forms. Add 1 Tablespoon sugar and beat some more till hard peak forms.
Add 1/4 of the beaten egg whites and 1/4 of flour to the yolk mix. Using a rubber spatula, fold it in slowly till just mixed (it's better to do less and leave some streams of white than to over mix ). Repeat 3 more times using the rest of flour and egg whites. This whole operation shouldn't last more than 2 minutes.
If you have a sleeve, it's worth trying it. Although I still think I need a third hand when playing with the sleeve. But I did it with two, it's possible. The cookies will have a nice shape. They should be 4 inches long (10 cm) and 1.5 inch (3 cm) wide, spaced 1 inch (2.5 cm) in between.
Sift powder sugar on top.
Place sheet in the middle and top third of the hot oven for 20 minutes. The cookies should be a bit colored around the edges. The ones from the top sheet needed 2-3 minutes extra. When under-baked, they will be soggy in the middle, when over-baked, they will too dry.
When fingers are ready, using a...cheese cutter, for example, transfer them onto a cooling rack. Et voila!

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