CAT'S tongue biscuits, originally of French or Dutch origin, are a common sight in the windows of bakeries all over Lisbon, arranged, invitingly, in rows in large tins.
You can serve them with strong coffee or even hot chocolate, or use them like sweet wafers and serve them with ice cream or use as a decoration for desserts.
Cat's tongue biscuits
MAKES: Approximately 20 biscuits
75g soft salted butter
100g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
100g plain flour
Flavourless oil, to grease (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200C. Using a stand mixer fitted with a beater attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract and the egg whites, beating briefly to combine.
Finally, with a metal spoon or a spatula, fold in the flour, using a swiping motion through the mix, until just combined - don't over-mix. Alternatively, make the biscuit mixture by hand.
If you have one, use a silicone baking sheet to cook these biscuits, as they stick very easily. If not, grease a large non-stick baking sheet very lightly with oil.
Spoon the biscuit mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large nozzle and pipe 6 x 2 cm portions of mixture on to the sheet, leaving at least 5 cm between each one from side to side, and about 3 cm from top to bottom, because the biscuits will spread out a lot in the oven.
Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the biscuits have turned brown (the centres may remain quite pale).
Remove from the oven and, while still hot, use a palette knife or spatula to lift the biscuits on to a wire rack or plate to cool and firm up. The biscuits will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container.
This is an edited extract from Lisbon by Rebecca Seal, published by Hardie Grant Books, $45.00 and is available in stores nationally. Photographer: © Steven Joyce