Ok there is something special when there is a shell to crack with your dessert creme brule is wonderful not only because of the smooth creamy custard, but the burnt sugar shell makes it a little like opening a present. Today, one of those many days off that I have between now an 2010, I made lace cookies. Kris described them best when I gave her one, "it's like peanut brittle only it tastes good." Like my lovely bride, I have never been a fan of the church craft fair peanut brittle that for some reason people thought was an actual treat when I was a kid. It was always thick heavy, tooth breaking hard and filled with the awful Spanish peanuts that my grandmother's friends favored.
When these cookies came out of the oven they looked like little bits of stained glass and tasted as light and delicate as the sunshine that passed through them. They are airy and crisp with the sweet crunch of caramelized sugar with the light touch of shaved almonds. However these cookies weren't going to be served alone (though they are really good, I stashed about 10 away for me later) these were to be made into crispy sugary bowls for Ice Cream... chocolate of course. .
Start by heating the oven to 350 then mix the ingredients:
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
pinch of kosher salt
Put the first four ingredients into a small sauce pan over a low flame and stir until smooth, remove from heat and add the flour, almonds and just a pinch of salt then stir until blended. Here is where this recipe turns cool! let the batter cool for a few minutes then take it out a scant tablespoon at a time and put them two at a time on greased parchment on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet into the oven for about 7-8 minutes, I found it worked better if I left them in a little longer than I thought I should. The cookies will be about 5 inch amorphous shapes; thin, lacy and delicate when done.
To make them into cookies take them out of the oven and set aside to cool. When they are cool enough to handle set them aside on another sheet of parchment to harden. To make them into the delicate dessert vessel that they were meant to be pull them off the greased parchment when they are still too hot to handle and form them over the bottom of a small bowl (these are 4 ounce tempered glass dishes for custard) then let them harden there. If you get a little burn just suck it up it is worth it in the end.
These are painted with chocolate... I know you were just thinking that these couldn't possibly get any better, but they do... I melted a Hershey's Chocolate Bar and 1/2 of a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips in a double boiler until very soft then used a fork to drizzle one of God's perfect foods on top of the lacy bowls and the cookies that I set aside for myself. Here they are.