I’m sure everyone who bakes cookies knows what Lady Fingers are. I’m used to seeing them in Tiramisu or maybe served on the side with tea. Depending on the recipe, they tend to be a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I’ve seen Lady Fingers served as a sandwich cookie or just on the side for dipping like a fondue.
After comparing Grandma Bess’ Lady Finger recipe to others, I believe Grandma’s recipe is non-traditional. The recipe includes the basic ingredients, but the instructions for making the cookies are different…and the cookies themselves turned out different as well.
I’m rating Lady Fingers 3-stars for cookie baking difficulty. Working through all the steps in making the cookie dough/batter coupled with shaping the cookies was challenging. I have to admit, my Lady Fingers didn’t turn out so well even after reading the instructions carefully. I was able to find a way to make the cookies close to, what I believe, was intended, but it took me several tries before I had it right.
Only a few ingredients to pull together, including 5 eggs! The recipe also calls for “pastry flour”, which Grandma Bess defines as ½ cup cake flour and ½ cup regular flour.
The first step after separating the eggs is to beat the egg whites to a foam.
Beating the egg whites to a foam is the biggest difference from the other Lady Finger recipes I’ve read. These recipes say to beat the egg whiles until firm. Leaving the egg whites at a foam, resulted in a very loose dough/batter, which made it hard to shape the fingers.
To the egg whites, I added the sugar slowly, beating after each addition.
I continued beating the egg whites and sugar.
And beat the mixture until firm.
Next, I added the egg yolks.
Finally, the adding flour, which I sifted right into the bowl.
Beating until all the flour was sifted in and blended evenly.
As you can see, the final cookie batter is very loose. Again, I wasn’t sure how to shape the fingers.
Most other Lady Fingers recipes call for using a pipping bag to shape the cookies. This recipe only says to form into lady fingers on a greased and floured cookie sheet.
I realized I had to use something because the batter was way to loose to actually form into shapes.
So I decided to use Grandma Bess’ pastry press, which came with her cookie gun.
It took me a few tries to get shapes that looked like lady fingers. To help make the batter easier to use, I added some additional flour to thicken the batter consistency.
The added flour helped some, at least to the point I was able to form some lady finger shapes.
The fingers were now ready to bake!
The cookies puffed up and spread a bit in the oven, but not too much to change their shape.
There was a thin layer of the cookie that stuck to the cookie sheets, even though I greased and floured per the recipe. But none of the fingers broke while removing them from the cookies sheets, which I’ll take as a win!
When I was making these cookies, I wasn’t so sure they actually looked like Lady Fingers…after looking at my pictures, I think they look okay. Maybe they belong to ladies with arthritis ?
My Lady Fingers turned out small. The pipping tool you use will affect the size, so make sure you have plan ready for when you make this Lady Fingers recipe.
The small fingers look nice on my Aunt Etta’s hand painted china. So pretty and almost formal, perfect for a luncheon, tea/coffee with friends, or even as a sandwich with chocolate inside.
Lady Fingers from Cookies by Bess are a non-traditional recipe that, once you get the process down, will provide a fun and versatile cookie…not to mention awesome taste!
I hope you enjoy!
½ cup sugar
1 cup pastry flour
¼ tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
Separate the eggs. Add salt to the egg whites. Beat to a foam. Add the vanilla. Slowly add the sugar. Add the well beaten egg yolks. Sift the flour in slowly. Form into lady fingers on greased and floured cookie sheets. Sprinkle with sugar or finely chopped nuts. Bake at 400 degree oven about 5 or 7 minutes. Watch carefully.
Note: Pastry flour is made with ½ cup cake flour and ½ cup regular flour.
Makes about 6 - 7 dozen fingers 1x
Cookie Categories: Molded or Shaped/Pressed