My first love is paper crafting. A close second is baking. In this, I’ve employed the popular art of rolling quick and easy paper roses, however in the form of tuile cookies with my own almond meal batter. The flavor is nutty and not overly sweet and the texture is delicate and crisp. It is not rose-flavored, but you may substitute the almond extract with rose water, if desired. The stencil template is easy to make using a simple inexpensive flexible plastic chopping board (or a thin plastic placemat). The challenge is not in the rolling of the rose cookies, but in getting the temperature of your oven and the baking time just right. Once you do, you’ll be rolling these in no time. And you’ll have enough practice for Valentine’s Day!
Step 1: Creating the Stencil
For the stencil, you’ll need:
Thin/flexible plastic chopping board or placemat
Very sharp scissors
Draw the roses starting by creating spirals and then filling out the petals, as shown. Create a hole in each rose using the utility knife, making sure the hole is large enough to fit the tip of your scissors. Put your scissors through the hole and cut away the rose spiral. You will be left with a template as shown.
For reference, my stencil diameters yielded the following results: 9" diameter made approximately 3" roses, 6" diameter made approximately 2" roses, and 4" diameter made approximately 1" to 1-1/2" roses. Every rose will have a slight size variation, depending on how tightly you roll the cookie as shown in Step 5.
**TIP: You want to ensure the edges of your template have sufficient separation so that when the batter bakes, it will not spread and merge. If I were to redo this template, I would make the separation wider in the areas tagged on the photo. Also, it is difficult to complete more than 3 cookies at a time, and therefore would suggest no more than 3 in a template.**
Step 2: Batter Ingredients
For the batter, you’ll need:
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Melted butter for greasing baking surface
Yield varies by stencil size. For reference, using my stencil sizes as described in the previous step, the batter yielded 3 x 3" cookies, 3 x 2" cookies, and 4 x 1" cookies.
Step 3: Making the Batter
Beat the egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Add sugar gradually and beat to stiff peaks. Using a wooden spoon, add and combine the almond meal, butter, and almond extract. Separate in several bowls and add food color as desired. Refrigerate batter for at least one hour in order to ensure it will hold its shape.
Step 4: Spreading the Batter and Baking
Preheat oven to 375F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Generously grease the parchment paper with butter. Remove batter from the refrigerator one bowl at a time, as needed. Using a spatula, spread the batter thinly over each rose to match the thickness of the stencil. Carefully remove stencil and place on another baking sheet.
Bake for 5 to 7 minutes. (My oven requires 6-1/2 minutes). As noted in the introduction, it is the oven temperature and baking time that have the most impact on these cookies. You will certainly need to experiment which works for your oven, because an underbaked cookie will sag and an overbaked cookie will break.
While cookies are baking, scrape batter off the stencil with a spatula and replace batter in the bowl so it will not be wasted.
Step 5: Rolling the Roses
These steps require you to work quickly immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven to ensure they are still hot and pliable and will not harden before you are done. Using a sharp knife, quickly cut and separate any edges that have merged. It is best to start rolling the smallest cookie first and working up to the next larger cookie and so on, as the smaller cookie sets quicker than the larger. To roll: start from the inner petals of the spiral and quickly and gently roll outwards.
**TIP: If the cookie is nearly set and you still need to roll, place it back in the oven for 30-60 seconds so that it will be hot and pliable again. But do not overbake. You will notice which cookies on the cookie rack are overbaked -- they are the ones that have turned entirely brown and lost their intended color.**
Allow cookies to set on cookie rack. Enjoy!