Tuiles (pronounced "tweels") usually refer to thin wafers with a variety of uses. Fortune cookies are just cookie tuiles folded into a three-dimensional shape. Savory tuiles pair well with soups while sweet tuiles often come as a tasty garnish in ice cream.
But these caramel tuiles are a bit non-traditional. They are not a cracker, but toffee candy melted into a flat lace structure. They do not have a crisp texture as a cookie tuile would, but will soften in your mouth to suck on like a caramel candy. They are an excellent garnish for ice cream and plated desserts.
Making them is not difficult but does require some special equipment. It begins by preparing a standard toffee recipe, which is then cooled to hard candy. The candy is ground in a food processor and sifted onto a nonstick mat. When baked, the fine dusting will melt and glob together, forming the intricate lace structure.
Each tuile is unique and some are more presentable than others, so be prepared to make more than you need.
Makes 2 dozen 2-inch tuiles
Start by preparing a simple caramel.
How long this takes depends entirely on your saucepan, so it helps to familiarize yourself with how well it conducts and holds heat. A Mauviel Copper Saucepan excels at this very task.
Remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir while the caramel darkens a bit. If your caramel remains a very light brown, then your pan probably does not hold heat very well; return it to the heat and remove periodically until your caramel begins to darken.
It must be off the heat at this point. The toffee should start to turn opaque and will begin to fight you as it cools.
Let it cool at room temperature until it is completely rigid. Do not try to cool it in the refrigerator as the condensation when you pull it out will add moisture and ruin your product.
Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C). Set your baking mat on your sheet pan in preparation to bake.
You can easily make a stencil by cutting circles into cardstock. Alternatively, you can sift the powder without a stencil and use round pastry cutters to cut out circles after they are baked.
For best results, make one thin pass with the sifting and just barely cover any gaps with the sifted powder. Too much powder will melt into one blob. Too little powder will form disconnected droplets rather than one round lace structure.
Leave the pan to cool to room temperature.
These caramel tuiles can be used later, but will start to absorb moisture and become soft. It is best to use them as soon as possible. If storing, be sure to separate them with parchment paper in an air-tight container to prevent the tuiles from sticking together.
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