Piped Cookie Curly Cues

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Yield: approximately

    25

    decorations

Appears in

This recipe involves winding a soft strip of baked tuile paste around a dowel to create an attractive crisp cookie spiral. Though they look like they are difficult to produce, my beginning-level students, some of whom have no prior pastry experience, find they are able to make piped curly cues they can be proud of with only a little practice. Because the paste is piped rather than spread out in a thin layer within a template (like the version), the finished spirals are not always precise and elegant but, on the plus side, you have more time to form them and they are not prone to breakage.

Ingredients

Method

  1. Have ready 2 dowels, ½ inch in diameter and approximately 16 inches long; in some cases, the handle of a wooden spoon is the correct size.
  2. Place a Silpat on top of a flat, even sheet pan, or grease and flour the backs of 3 flat sheet pans, shaking off as much flour as possible.
  3. Place the tuile paste in a pastry bag with a No. 1 (2-mm) plain tip. Pipe 8 to 10 straight lines across the width of the Silpat or sheet pan, making them 9 inches (22.5 cm) long and spacing them 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. There is no point in piping any more lines than this on one mat or pan because you have only a limited window of time in which to form the cookies before they become crisp. However, you can pipe the paste out on all 3 pans or on 3 Silpats if you like. The piped paste does not have to be baked immediately.
  4. Bake, 1 pan at a time, at 400°F(205°C) for approximately 4 minutes or until 1 cookie begins to show a few brown spots. It takes a little experience to judge when to begin with the first cookie, and you have to move quickly at this point. If the cookies are overbrowned, it is impossible to form them without breaking. However, if they are removed before they show any color at all, the cookies will not become crisp after they cool. Leave the pan in the oven with the door open.
  5. Hold the dowel in one hand and quickly pick up the darkest cookie strip. Place the strip at a 45-degree angle to the dowel and quickly turn the dowel as you allow the cookie to wrap around the dowel and form a spiral (Figure 15-2). You can adjust the length and shape of the finished cookie by adjusting the angle at which the cookie falls on the dowel. For example, placing the cookie at close to a 90-degree angle to the dowel will produce a short, tightly wound cookie, similar to a telephone cord. Leave the cookie on the dowel for about 5 seconds, holding both ends tightly against the dowel, then slide it off. If you are working with more than 1 dowel, place the dowel on the table with the ends of the cookie underneath and start to form the next cookie right away.
  6. Form and bake the remaining cookies. The finished decorations will keep for weeks if stored in a dry place.

Figure 15-2 Wrapping a soft Piped Curly Cue around a dowel to form it into a spiral as soon as it is removed from the oven, then pulling it off the dowel once it has become crisp. The drawing shows the Curly Cues with the optional stripe of