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Ladyfinger cookies are made with a sponge-cake batter, resulting in ever-so-light cookies that almost melt in your mouth. The French term for Ladyfingers is biscuits a la cuilliere, which means spoon cookies, because they were originally formed with a spoon. Using a pastry bag, however, makes these cookies quick to make and gives them a more uniform shape. Ladyfingers are best eaten or used the day they are made as they tend to get increasingly fragile the longer they sit.

Ladyfingers can be served alone as an accompaniment to coffee or tea, and are also used in classic desserts such as Tiramisu and Charlotte Russe.

Ladyfinger batter should be baked as soon as you have piped the shapes and dusted them with powdered sugar. Before starting, have all ingredients prepared and ready to use, the baking pans and pastry bag laid out and ready to use, and the oven pre-heated. This is called mise en place – A French term meaning “everything in its place.”
Recipe type: Dessert | Shaped Cookies | Piped Cookies
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt (pinch)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • About 1 cup of confectioners’ (powdered) sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Tip: dab the corners of the baking sheet with butter or shortening to hold the parchment paper in place.
  1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg yolks and ¼ cup granulated sugar; using an electric mixer beat on low speed about 1 minute or until blended, and then increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 5 to 8 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and drops in ribbons when the beater is lifted. Lower the speed to low and beat in the vanilla until mixed, and then increase the mixer to high and beat another 30 seconds or until it thickens again. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Set aside.
  2. In another large mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and salt and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula; partially fold the egg yolks into the egg whites. Don’t try to fully incorporate the egg yolks until the flour is added.
  4. Place the flour into a flour sifter and sift the flour over the batter and fold into the batter in three additions. Make sure and scrape the bottom of the bowl with the spatula to blend the entire mixture. Tip: You can use a fine mesh sieve in place of a flour sifter.
  5. Spoon the batter into a pastry bag with a ½ inch round decorating tip, filling the bag about one-third full. Pipe out the fingers 3 to 4 inches in length, leaving 2 inches between each finger. Tip: Hold the pastry bag about 1 inch above the pan and gently squeeze the pastry bag to pipe out the fingers, letting the batter fall to the pan and not get flattened by the edge of the tip.
  6. Using a flour sifter or fine mesh sieve, generously sift powdered sugar over the Ladyfingers. After a few seconds, if the sugar is absorbed into the batter, repeat, giving the ladyfingers a second dusting of sugar.
  7. Bake: Immediately after you have piped a full pan of fingers and dusted with powdered sugar, place the baking sheet in the oven to bake, and then continue with the remaining batter and the second baking sheet. Bake about 15 minutes or until the Ladyfingers are a light golden brown and set. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool.
Ladyfingers are best eaten freshly baked and the same day they are made, or store in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days layered between wax or parchment paper.
Source: Bloom, Carole, The International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries, and Confections, Hearst Books, New York, 1995Malgieri, Nick, Perfect Cakes, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2002
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two Large Baking Sheets Pan Prep: Parchment Paper Oven Temp: 350° Yield: 3 Dozen Cookies Storage: Airtight Container, Room Temperature

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