The inspiration for these Dacquoise cookies comes from Latifeh, which are soft Persian cookies sandwiched with rose-scented whipped cream. The first time I tried latifeh, from Laleh Bakery, I was hooked. They have two kinds of latifeh – walnut and coconut – and they’re absolutely divine! Unfortunately, the bakery is quite a ways away, so I’ve only been back just once or twice since the first time.
Because I can’t easily get these cookies, I have become totally obsessed with finding a latifeh recipe that’s as good as Laleh’s. I searched for recipes online, and even tried making them once. They tasted good, but the texture just wasn’t the same. The cookies were too much like sponge cake. Laleh’s are lighter, more meringue-like. I kept searching for a latifeh recipe with a meringue base, but all I could find from Iranian food bloggers were sponge cookie recipes. I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe latifeh are really more sponge-like, and Laleh just makes their own secret super light version?! But then I also tried latifeh from another Iranian bakery once, and although I didn’t like the taste as much, their latifeh had the same lightness and chewiness that only comes with using a meringue.
Anyway, one day, it suddenly dawned on me that latifeh must be made of dacquoise! Why didn’t I think about that before?! Dacquoise, much like its cousin, the macaron, is a French nut meringue. Whereas almonds are used in macarons, dacquoise can be made from almonds or hazelnuts (there are also dacquoise variations, such as Filipino silvanas and sans rival, which are made with cashews). Dacquoise recipes will also sometimes include a little bit of cornstarch or cake flour. Dacquoise is like a delicate, light sponge which, when freshly baked, is a little crispy on the outside, and chewy inside. The batter is usually piped into large round discs that are then layered with buttercream in between to make a cake. I decided to turn my dacquoise recipe into cookies!
Just like latifeh, I filled these dacquoise cookies with rose scented whipped cream and garnished them with crushed pistachios. OMG, they were soooo good! Biting into one of these was like biting into a latifeh. Now I know I’m definitely on the right track! Yayyyyyy!!!!
Of course, dacquoise cookies are more than just latifeh. These are damn good cookies, period! They taste great on their own, and because they’re really not very sweet, you can also fill them with a buttercream or mousseline, or anything you want!
DACQUOISE COOKIES (Makes 20 cookies/10 sandwich cookies)
100g almond flour
100g sugar divided into 60g and 40g)
5g (about 1 tablespoon) cake flour
115g (3-4) egg whites
150ml whipping cream
15g icing sugar
1/4 tsp rose extract
crushed pistachios (optional)
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare piping bag with a medium round tip.
2. Sift the almond flour, 60g of sugar and cake flour together into a bowl.
3. To prepare the meringue, wipe down the mixing bowl and whisk attachment with a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice. Beat the egg whites for 1 minute on medium speed until foamy. Then increase speed to medium high and gradually add the 40g of sugar, while continuing to beat until the egg whites reach stiff peaks (it should be glossy; do not overbeat).
4. Add in the almond flour mixture all at once. Using a spatula, quickly and gently fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. Do not overmix.
5. Fill the piping bag with the batter. Holding the piping bag directly above the baking sheet at a 90 degree angle to the surface, pipe the batter in 2″ wide circles, leaving at least an inch between each one. Lightly dust the cookies with icing sugar.
6. Let the dacquoise rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.
7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned (if your oven doesn’t distribute heat evenly, rotate the baking sheet halfway so cookies bake with an even colour)
8. Remove from oven, cool for a couple of minutes, then carefully peel the parchment paper from the cookies, place cookies on a wire rack and cool completely.
[Before whipping the cream, place whisk attachment and mixing bowl in the refrigerator for a minimum of 15 minutes before using. Whipping cream should be kept in the refrigerator until ready to use].
9. Pour whipping cream into the mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for about a minute. Add rose extract and gradually sift in icing sugar, while continuing to beat. Then increase speed to medium high and beat until stiff peaks form.
10. Pipe cream onto a cookie, place another cookie on top, and garnish the sides with crushed pistachios (optional). Place the sandwich cookies for at least an hour in the refrigerator to firm up the cream, before eating.
Note: These sandwich cookies can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Keep in mind that the cookies will soften. To store plain dacquoise cookies, place them between layers of wax or parchment paper, in a tightly sealed container. They can keep in the fridge for a few days. They also freeze well.