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Ube lengua de gato put a Philippine twist on the Milano cookie

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
Ube Lengua de Gato
Total time:1 hour 30 mins
Servings:Makes about 44 sandwich cookies
Total time:1 hour 30 mins
Servings:Makes about 44 sandwich cookies

Pasalubong, the practice of bringing home gifts to family and friends after vacation, is a big part of Filipino culture. I was always ecstatic when someone would bring me lengua de gato.

Lengua de gato, Spanish for “cat’s tongue,” make a perfect pasalubong. These buttery cookies, which stay crisp for months, are usually served with a cup of coffee or tsokolate (Filipino hot chocolate with evaporated or condensed milk).

Because I love them so much, I created a version of these oblong cookies to make at home. I filled them with chocolate, similar to a Milano. I used one of my favorite combinations: The cookie is flavored and colored with vibrant purple ube extract, while the ganache features Valrhona Dulcey (roasted white chocolate) and yuzu marmalade, a Japanese citrus.

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I particularly enjoy how the filling creates a slightly chewy texture that contrasts with the crisp cookies.

Ube Lengua de Gato

The recipe is flexible: Regular white chocolate can stand in for the caramelized chocolate, and orange marmalade works in lieu of the yuzu version. The ube extract can be left out, or substituted with vanilla, if desired.

Don’t fret if your wafers are not all the same size. They will vary based on your piping and the temperature of the dough (later batches tend to spread more) but you’ll have plenty of each size or shape to form well-matched sandwiches. If you decide to halve the recipe, a stand mixer will likely not efficiently mix the ingredients, so go with a hand mixer for smaller batches.

You may have leftover ganache. For a chewy caramel-like truffle, roll into balls and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make Ahead: The unfilled wafers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 6 months. If chilled, let the cookies come to room temperature before eating.

Where to Buy: Ube extract, Valrhona Dulcey caramelized white chocolate and yuzu marmalade are all available online.

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Ingredients

For the cookies

  • Scant 1 cup (187 grams) granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon ube extract, preferably McCormick (optional; may substitute vanilla extract)
  • 1 1/3 cups (167 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large (66 grams) egg whites

For the ganache

  • 10 1/2 ounces (300 grams) Valrhona Dulcey caramelized white chocolate, chopped (may substitute chopped white chocolate, do not use chips)
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams/1/4 cup) yuzu marmalade (may substitute orange marmalade)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Step 1

Make the cookies: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.


Step 2

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a large bowl and a hand mixer, beat the sugar, butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ube extract, if using, and mix on medium until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the bowl with a flexible spatula.


Step 3

Add half the flour and beat on medium until homogenous. Add half the egg whites, beating again until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour and egg whites.


Step 4

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large, round tip that is approximately 1/3 inch (just under 1 centimeter) in diameter. Hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, with the tip about 1/8 inch (3 millimeters) above the surface. Slowly pipe a 2-inch-long (5-centimeter) line, allowing the bag to hover above the pan as you pipe, so that the batter spreads out a bit, aiming for a line that is about 3/4 inch (2 centimeters) wide. Repeat until you fill up the two baking sheets, spacing each line about 1 inch apart; you should get about 30 wafers per sheet.


Step 5

Bake, one sheet at a time, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are set and the centers are puffed (they will settle a bit after cooling). Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat piping and baking the remaining dough, allowing the baking sheets to cool completely before proceeding with more batches. At this point, the cookies can be stored until needed.


Step 6

Make the ganache: In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate in 1-minute bursts on HIGH until melted, stirring after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.)


Step 7

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the marmalade and cream, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.


Step 8

Transfer the melted chocolate and cream mixture to a blender and puree on high. Once it’s smooth and homogenous and thickens to the consistency of a chewy caramel (and starts to fight the blender), you’re done. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. The ganache is best used right away, as refrigeration makes it set very firmly.


Step 9

Assemble the sandwich cookies: Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange half of the cookies, flat side up, on the sheet. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread about 1 teaspoon of the ganache onto the overturned cookies and place the remaining cookies on top to form sandwiches. Serve, or transfer to a container to store.


Nutrition Information

Per sandwich cookie

Calories: 81; Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 7 mg; Sodium: 19 mg; Carbohydrates: 9 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 7 g; Protein: 1 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.


From chef Francis Ang of Abacá restaurant in San Francisco.

Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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