September 26, 2018
Ladyfingers, or as I call them, my Homemade Spongy Ladyfingers, hold a sentimental spot in my heart. For several years, it has been my holiday tradition to bake batches upon batches of cookies, fudge and truffles to gift to family. I spend weeks making my famous (to family) eggnog cookies and pumpkin cookies, orange cream cookies and peppermint sugar cookies. All recipes I will eventually share with you! One year I let my grandma pick what she wanted, and to my surprise, she’d asked for something I’d never made – Ladyfingers. I tweaked several batches until I got just the right amount of sweet and soft and spongy. My grandma loooooved them. She said they were the best she had ever had. My grandma has passed and I hadn’t made Ladyfingers since. Baking this batch was…bittersweet. These Homemade Spongy Ladyfingers came out fantastic. They were just as fluffy and slightly sweet as I remembered, but of course, it brought back missing my grandma. She was an amazing lady and I truly wish she had been able to see this blog. So, today I’m giving you a recipe that is really special to me, and I hope you enjoy them and make some memories of your own around them.
Preheat your oven to 400. Prepare a pan by lining with parchment paper. This will help to keep the cookies from sticking.
In a clean and dry, metal bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. This takes approximately 5 minutes. Start on low and increase to medium as it thickens. Add 2 TBS granulated sugar and beat for another few minutes. I like to start at medium and increase to high (but not top speed). In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks, extract(s) and remaining sugar until thick and pale. Finally, in a 3rd bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. If you are making the chocolate version, also sift the espresso and cocoa into the flour for Chocolate Ladyfingers.
Next, very gently fold half of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Continue folding until fully incorporated. Next, fold in the flour mixture. And repeat with the remaining half of the egg whites. This will take several minutes, and your arms will get tired, but the result is so worth it. You can just tell from the batter that it will be light and fluffy.
Now, because the batter is so light, it can also be a bit runny. I like to pipe the batter into 3” lines onto parchment paper. It comes out nice and frothy, but quickly loses its form and becomes the puddles you see here. That’s why I just pipe one short line and allow it to spread. You may also use a spoon and draw a line onto the paper. You want to work somewhat quickly.
Here you’ll need to decide- what is your preferred Garnish? If you would like a sugar crust on top, lightly sprinkle sugar onto the batter. While baking, this will form a very light crust, and it is delicious. This is my preferred Garnish. If you prefer powdered sugar or cocoa, wait until after baking to add. Because these are so light, they only bake for about 8 minutes.
Cool on pan for 3 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to fully cool. Depending on your Garnish, here, lightly sift powdered sugar or cocoa powder over the cookies.
These cookies are delicious as a tea cookie, or in a Tiramisu. I could also see making them into circles instead of lines and topping with strawberries and Homemade Whipped Cream for a light and tasty Strawberry Shortcake.