I had a long week. It commenced with teaching 4 teenagers to speak English. It was tiring and they were completely fish-eyed. I don’t remember being fish-eyed as a teen. But I do want to apologize to all the adults in my life then and now for once having been a teenager.
I’m so sorry. Really.
I made you cookies.
But we’ll get to that.
Friday night ended with me coming home at 8pm to a very exciting treat. Earlier in the day I had seen fleurs de courgette being sold in the market place and I immediately texted the husband with an excited note that if they weren’t too expensive, would he pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease buy some. He did.
These are zucchini flowers. They aren’t rare, they aren’t too expensive, but they are a bit hard to find. I love them. I had them first at La Colombe in Hyères (coincidentally, I’m going to that restaurant tonight), and thought they were so spectacular that I’d waited impatiently all year for summer and zucchini to come again.
These flowers are often stuffed. Usually with cheese or the zucchini itself and then fried or baked.
We stuffed ours with very fresh goat cheese mixed with garlic, onion and yellow pepper. Then drizzled them in olive oil and baked them in the oven for 15 minutes.
Fleurs de courgette are tangy, almost citrus-like with such a wonderful and satisfying crunch at the end. You know you’re eating a flower, it feels like eating a flower should. Like sunshine.
And now, your cookies.
The Dame Blanche is most often known as a sundae. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, strawberries or strawberry coulis and whipped cream. However, there is something much more exciting that can be found in almost every bakery in France: the Dame Blanche Cookie.
Dame Blanche or white lady is my favorite cookie. I’d never made them before, so bear with me:
- 1 ¼ cup flour
- 115g of butter, softened
- ¾ of powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- pinch of vanilla extract
- jam or confiture of your choice – I used strawberry, which is the most common.
Mix your softened butter, sugar and egg until every thing is smooth and homogenous. Add your flour, vanilla and salt and mix until everything comes together. Then mix a bit more to firm up your dough – not too firm – stop when you start to feel a bit of resistance – about 3 or 4 minutes on a low setting.
Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.
When the 30 minutes are up, flour your work surface and your rolling pin and your hands. Really coat it in the flour. Don’t be afraid to make a mess. Take your dough out of the bowl and set it on your work surface. Flour it too.
Carefully roll the dough out to about 1/8 of an inch thick. This dough is incredibly sticky – something I unhappily discovered, which is why I recommend LOTS of flour everywhere to keep it from sticking.
Using a cookie cutter, cut yourself as many cookies as the dough allows but make sure you have an even number of cookies. I cut one cookie at a time, put it on the cookie pan and then cut the next. It was just easier given how delicate the dough was.
For every other cookie you will cut a small hole in the center. I recommend doing this while the cutter is still supporting the shape of the cookie. My holes didn’t come out so great, but maybe next time.
Bake your cookies for 10 minutes or until they are fully cooked through. You want them to be firm and crispy and browned.
Take them out and let them cool fully. Try to clean up in the mean time before your significant other sees the mess you’ve made with the kitchen.
When the cookies are cool, take your jam and spread a nice amount all over the cookie bottoms – the ones without the hole. Put the cookie tops on – the ones with the hole in the center. Et voila!
Normally, the Dame Blanche has white powdered sugar on top of it. I couldn’t find any in the store today and ran out of sugar when I was making the recipe. But no matter – they still taste great. They’re just not as white as they should be. Keep them in the fridge for about 3 days.
So please forgive me, for every having been a teenager. And have a cookie. It makes everyone feel better.