@ZackGlass (Supertwin): I should start this off by saying that this recipe is not for the faint of heart. It’s very finicky, and getting the proportions and cooking time just right can be challenging. But, it’s worth it.
This cookie was my favorite growing up – my mother used to take our family to this authentic little German bakery around the corner from our apartment in Washington Heights, and I’ve never found any store-bought lace cookie that even comes close to that shop. It also speaks to the amazing character of America that a pale little Jewish kid like me, growing up in a predominantly Dominican neighborhood, could go to the local German bakery to pick up what might be a French or Italian cookie.
Over the years, I’ve fiddled around with this recipe, and this is the closest I can get it to that amazing little bakery in the heights. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) margarine or butter
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup ground pecans (replacing the traditional ground almonds)
- Chocolate chips
- Pinch of salt (optional)
Step 1: Mix the sugar, corn syrup, margarine/butter, and optional salt under low heat until smooth. Overheating, overcooking, or boiling the mix makes it caramelize too much, at which point the cookies will stick to the roof of your mouth. Not an ideal texture in my book. If you have a candy thermometer, this would probably not be a bad time to use it. If you do, I’d be thrilled if you let us know what temperature works best. I’ve never tried it.
Step 2: Mix in the flour and ground pecans.
Step 3: Chill the batter for 15 minutes. If you don’t, your batter will be as sticky as tar and ridiculously difficult to work with.
While the batter is chilling, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) and line a cookie pan with parchment paper. The parchment paper will be fairly important later on.
Step 4: Drop teaspoon sized blobs (I actually just pinch a little batter) onto the lined pan at even intervals. Now, you’re ready to bake the batch.
I’ve found that every oven behaves differently. In the deathtrap, this took 13 minutes, but your mileage may vary. The cookies should look a bit golden around the edges when you pull them out. But, they will NOT have the lace pattern yet.
I highly recommend experimenting a little to find your oven’s sweet spot. You’ll probably be doing this in several batches anyway.
Step 5: Take the pan from the oven and lift the parchment paper with cookies out immediately. Set the parchment paper down on a flat surface to cool. As they cool, the cookies will magically form a lace pattern. If the do not, they probably needed more time in the oven.
After about 30 seconds, the cookies will have enough substance to shape but will not have hardened yet. One variation calls for twisting them around a wooden spoon handle to create tubes that look like mini cannolis to be later filled with cream (or cool whip if you’re not doing dairy). If you don’t want to do that, just leave them be.
After the lace pattern forms, popping the cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes will cool the cookies completely, but it’s not necessary.
Step 6: Once the cookies are cool, flip them over. Dollop a blob of nutella on half of them, and gently press the other half-cookies down on top to create a sandwich. If you created mini-cannolis, instead of a sandwich, fill them with cream. In the pictures, our rounds actually just have more nutella in them, so experiment away.
Step 7: Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Half dip the cookies in chocalate and set them down to cool.
Step 8: Eat. Them. All.
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