Green Tea Cat’s Tongues Recipe

Langues de Chat au Thé Vert

Langues de chat are classic French cookies that fall into the category of petits fours secs (“dry” petits fours, as opposed to miniature versions of pastries with buttercream, pastry cream, etc). They used to be a frequent accompaniment to ice-cream in restaurants, in rotation with cigarettes russes, but I haven’t seen that done for a while — gavottes seem to have taken their place.

“Cat’s tongues” are oval butter cookies, with a blonde center and lightly browned edges. The packaged versions one can find at French grocery stores are crunchy all over and quite decent, but the homemade langue de chat offers a nice change of texture, with thin crispy rims and a tender, slightly chewy heart.

Langues de chat are very simple to make, and they’re a great use for leftover egg whites. I usually flavor them with vanilla — delicious with a warm apricot compote — but the other day, when my mother asked if I could bring something to nibble on with tea after dinner at their house, I decided it was high time I used the small package of matcha that had been waiting around in my baking treasure box for months, and was beginning to feel a little dejected.

I was unsure how much matcha I should use, so I just added a teaspoon and a half and hoped for the best. As it turns out, this was just the right amount for the earthy green tea notes to come through, without giving the impression that you had just swallowed a spoonful of tea leaves — don’t try this at home. The flavor was lovely in an adult kind of way, the cookies an interesting shade of olive green, and we liked them so much that I baked a second batch for us the next day.

[As for the picture, it was sheer luck: we happened to be cat-sitting Maxence's cat, who lives with his mother (Maxence's, that is). I am normally not much of a cat person but I've known this one for over nine years, and she and I cohabit courteously enough, although I hate it when she sleeps on my feet. Anyway. Just as I was shooting pictures of the cookies, she got curious ("Green tea cat's tongues? What a peculiar idea!"), came closer for a second, and I was able to tilt the camera and catch her with the cookies just before she turned her attention to some fly-chasing activity or other; I couldn't have staged it if I'd tried. Update: Sadly, Maxence's cat died last summer, not long after this picture was taken. Wherever she is now, I hope she has plenty of tuna to eat and cables to chew.]

[This post originally appeared in June of 2006.]

Langues de Chat au Thé Vert

60 grams (1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon) unsalted butter, softened
60 grams (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
2 egg whites
60 grams (1/2 cup) flour
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 1/2 teaspoon matcha (powdered green tea)

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer, and process until fluffy. Add the egg whites and process until combined. Add the flour, fleur de sel, and matcha powder, and process until smooth. Cover and chill for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the batter in a pastry bag with a 5-mm (1/5-inch) tip, or use a food storage bag and snip one corner to create a 5-mm opening. Squeeze the batter onto the prepared baking sheet to form 6-cm (2 1/3-inch) sticks, not too close to one another. Slip into the oven and bake for about 7 minutes, until the edges start to brown but the center remains green.

Transfer the cookies on a cooling rack while still warm, and let cool completely. The langues de chat will keep for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature.

(For the classic langues de chat, substitute 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract for the green tea powder, and bake until the edges start to brown but the center remains pale.)

  • http://www.davidlebovitz.com David L.

    It looks like the cat’s about to get your tongue.

    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist…)

  • http://sooishi.blogspot.com ooishigal

    So cute!

  • http://bolognalagrassa.blogspot.com/ lagrassa

    A suggestion: this is one of those recipes where the quality of your baking sheet makes all the difference in the world. A silicone baking mat works great for crisp, not-too-brown-round-the edges langues de chat. says me at least…

  • http://foodbeam.blogspot.com fanny

    What a lovely picture (and a lovely cat).
    Your langues de chat ont l’air divin!
    But i have to buy another pot of matcha because mine is nearly empty (i love matcha tea so much!).

    xoxo
    Fanny

  • http://www.nordljus.co.uk/en keiko

    Oh Clotilde, Maxence’s cat looks so sweet – she has the same ‘I have to investigate!’ expression as my cat does ;) (sorry to hear that you’re not a cat person though) And please try to use the rest of the matcha soon as it loses the flavour/colour very quickly!

  • Marco

    Une petite question, Clothilde: les blancs, je les monte en neige ou non?? Merci !!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Lagrassa – I have a silpat sheet, so I’ll try that and compare the results!

    Keiko – Thanks for the advice, I’ll have to use it up soon, then.

    Marco – No need to whip the egg whites, just mix them in.

  • http://achickenineverygrannycart.wordpress.com/ ann

    be very happy she sleeps on your feet and not on your head!
    i wish i could bake, those cookies sound lovely!

  • Griffin

    Oh Clotilde,

    A shame you’re not a cat person, they can be such elegant creatures… as well as witty and funny. A gorgeous picture too, he could probably smell the butter and wondered if he might get away with it…!

    By the way, he may sleep on your feet because he likes you. So he’s probably a Clotilde person even if you’re not a cat person.

  • Carol

    What a coincidence that Anne in Sweden also has a photo of a cat investigating cookies this weekend -http://annesfood.blogspot.com

  • Patsy

    Maxence’s cat could not have been a better model to use in your photo. It was a stroke of luck to have such a perfectly colored creature to complete your graphic! As for the cookies themselves, I haven’t had homemade ones for a long, long time and this post inspires me to try some, myself.

  • http://www.genevestewart.com Geneve

    You’ve brought back old memories of little cookies that I haven’t thought about in ages. Those little cigarettes russes were always my favorite part about ordering an ice cream in restaurants. Your cookies look beautiful, as always! Great photo!

  • http://mitainecarlate.canalblog.com Ninnie

    Absolument adorable! La photo, la recette, absolument TOUT!

  • http://www.liketocook.com Karen

    Wonderful picture! Love that “curious cat” shot, very cute.

    Matcha-flavoured lengua de gato? I’m itching to try it.

  • http://www.dessertfirst.typepad.com Anita

    Best picture ever! I love langues de chat…good to know matcha is still making the rounds in recipes!

  • http://www.amateurgourmet.com Lolita

    Dearest Clotilde,
    I am writing in regards to your policy regarding the boarding of cats, particularly cats of loved ones or, perhaps, beloved food bloggers? I ask only because I find myself in a wretched situation–I won’t go into details–but suffice it to say I live with an “amateur” who knows nothing of finer cuisine. He feeds me dry food and watches Martha Stewart on Tivo. Would you consider taking on an exchange kitty? I’ll pull my weight, I swear. And I’ll never sleep on your feet–though I may barf now and again. Please consider.
    All the best,
    Lolita “Lola” Roberts

  • http://vanillagarlic.blogspot.com Garrett

    Hmm, I have a much similar recipe to this but using earl grey tea and lotsa’ butter. I may have to do some experimenting and retooling now.

  • http://fancytoast.blogspot.com Erielle

    When I first saw the photograph, I wondered if you had nudged a little catnip into the bottom of the glass…what impeccable timing! My cats would have figured me out and denied me the pleasure.

  • the cooker

    you’ve done it again, amazing clotildie!

  • http://www.thecookingcritic.com Christine

    I was trying to figure out how much matcha tea to add for green tea cupcakes not too long ago, and I’m glad to find a frame of reference here! I iced my cupcakes with grapefruit frosting, and it turned out to be a nice little combo.

  • Alisa

    What a stroke of luck. Nice kitty.
    Cat as foot warmer is one of my most envied things.

  • http://www.mostlyaboutfood.com Kalle

    That picture with the cat tongue cookies and the curious cat is… like… NEAT! I’m getting a weird pleasure looking at it and thinking, how happy you must have been getting so suitable and stylish picture for your article…

  • http://www.confituredulait.blogspot.com karina

    where did you find your matcha? I’d love to try this out but need to locate some matcha… beautiful picture!

  • http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com carolg@ParisBreakfasts

    Delightful as ever Clotilde :) Particularly the cable-eating cat…Lovely picture too.
    Thank you.

  • http://francescav.splinder.com Francesca

    wonderful wonderful pic! ;->

  • http://fabien.wordpress.com Fabien

    IMHO the best way to taste Langues de Chat is with a chocolate mousse (chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar)… This said, I really like green tea so I think I’m gonna try… thanks. :)

  • Emmet

    Where does one find matcha powder?

  • http://na-zdravi.blogspot.com/ Dianka

    What a fantastic picture! Cute kitty!

  • Therese

    I’m not really into green tea so I’ll probably stick to the classic version of the langues de chat. The picture is truly a masterpiece though – congratulations and thank you!

  • http://cookingwithchopsticks.wordpress.com/ Hanna

    Dear Clothilde,

    What a wonderful use of matcha! I would only suggest you use your green tea within three months of purchasing it and keep it in the fridge! Once the green color starts to fade, it loses a lot of its flavor.

    As for where to buy matcha for those who have never tried it I would suggest Ippodo, the most famous tea store in Kyoto. They have a website from which you can order a wide range of their teas from outside Japan.

    They also have helpful information about all the different kinds of green tea, how to store them, and how to brew a perfect cup of tea.

    I only wonder, Clothilde, if you have the utensils, especially a tea bowl and bamboo whisk, to savor matcha in its simplest form, whipped into hot water. When presented in a tea ceremony paired with a traditional Japanese sweet, the experience is a culmination of art, cuisine, and good company that I’m sure you would be able to appreciate. Perhaps some day I could present you a bowl of tea…

  • http://www.lapagefrancaise.blogspot.com lapagefrancaise

    That photo just could not be any more perfect! What a stroke of luck to have caught that shot! I love when that happens

  • http://www.edmcdevitt.com Ed McDevitt

    Come through Chicago. Wonderful restaurants here, to say nothing of at least one great brew pub. If you’re going to be here, let me know. We’ll get something going.

  • http://www.aminglingoftastes.com Julie

    This is a fabulous idea. I love using new/trendy flavors in traditional baked items, and tea is perfect. I have never piped cookies before, but it sounds quite easy. We’ll see if they turn out as pretty as yours:)

    Have you tried green tea-flavored chocolates?
    Julie

  • http://funwithyourfood.blogspot.com Teddy

    hm those look a little TOO much like cat tongues. Ekk

    Glad I found your site ;)

    Teddy

  • Jerry

    I like your site…

  • http://icecreamireland.com/ Kieran

    Brilliant as always! These cookies would go perfectly with ice cream. I will definitely try them. Thanks!

  • Anson

    There is a very similar treat here in the Philippines and it is also called cat’s tongue. Only we referred to it by its Spanish name Lengua de Gato.

  • http://mmana.blogspot.com/2006/11/cats-tongues.html Noir

    Wonderful recipe and great photo! Yeah, cats always look for the best… ;) I’ve made a version of this recipe in the spanish version (coated with chocolate). The only problem is I have to maintain people far from the tongues with a whip!

  • http://kellytheculinarian.blogspot.com Kelly Mahoney

    Adorable cat — does he have a refined palate as well? :)

  • http://www.kaydeesplace.com Kaydee

    I tried nearly the same recipe but I used Lapsang Souchong Zhivago tea I get at http://www.tealaden.com the tea is highly smoky and imparts a smoky flavor. Just a note: this tea is very smoky so if you don’t like the smoke flavor it is not for you. I use it also to poach salmon to make it smoky.

  • http://skinnygourmet.blogspot.com Erin

    This looks like a delightful recipe. My husband loves these little baked treats, but we only ever make the with the standard flavoring (as his mother made them). You now have me curious about using lavendar.

  • http://www.lanek0cina.com nek0

    Hey Clotilde,

    Just a shoutout to say that I recommended you for Blogday 2007! :)

    You were my first ever food blog addiction a few years ago ^_^ and now… I also blog! (but only in Spanish for now, in English also would be too much work).

    Thanks for the recipes, thanks for everything.

    Oh! And I love your book!

    Greetings,
    nek0 from Spain

  • RhoAnna

    Your pictures are always so ephemeral- this one particulary so! And what perfect timing, kitty sniffing cat’s tongues! Fantastique!!

  • http://countrygirlcityliving.blogspot.com/ lindsay

    What a gorgeous shot! This one MUST be published. Some girls have all the luck, huh!

  • http://shortcut-to-mushrooms.blogspot.com Judith

    You’re it!

    I tagged you for a blog game; details here.

  • http://urbanvegan.blogspot.com urbanvegan

    I’ve made green tea madeleines, but not langues de chat. Fun!

  • Eileen

    Not sure if it was my link or the person you entrusted to post for you while on vacation but all of these posts just appeared today. I hope it was my link. Will be more than happy when you return from your much needed and earned vacation.

  • http://www.cookthink.com Claire

    How delightful. Such an elegant treat for an elegant kitty.

  • http://www.steamykitchen.com Steamy Kitchen

    I have a wee bit of green tea powder left – and I think I’ll use it to make this!

  • http://www.bolbolye.com Derya

    Mmhhhh it looks delightful, but i cant find green tea powder in Turkey :(

  • Margaret

    When I read this, I literally had to stop and make them. I wrote down the ingredients, and tiptoed my way to the kitchen.

    It was 9:30 pm and my flatmates were all asleep, so I baked as quietly as possible.

    Alas, I have no matcha (and haven’t even heard of it until your post). But we DO have a whole tin of Pumpkin Pie Spice that I’m trying to use up. So a teaspoon of the lovely spice mix went in.

    Delicious!! I love that it actually made a smallish batch. With three girls living under one roof trying live a slightly more healthy lifestyles, it’s always bad news when a recipe makes a huge number of servings.

  • Elizabeth

    This is a wonderful recipe I have made several time. The last couple batches I used Cote D’or dark chocolate spread to make little sandwiches…very delicious.

  • moon

    I love your blog
    Is it possible to blend my green tea into powder and use it (silly lol question)
    Thanks

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Moon – Matcha is a very very fine powder, as fine as confectioner’s sugar, and I’m not sure you could get the same texture with a blender, but you can certainly try.

  • http://www.xanga.com/secade Colin

    I’ve been a reader for a while, and will be trying out a few recipes this coming holiday season. I love your site and your recipes quite a bit! I’m not quite sure what ‘fleur de sel’ is, however. I live in Midwestern America and don’t have much knowledge or access to the more french aspects of cooking. Your help would be appreciated, as I’d like to try these out!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Colin – Fleur de sel is a type of sea salt that comes in moist crystals. You can substitute kosher salt.

  • Amy

    Clotilde,

    Thank you so much for this–I had some matcha that I needed to put to good use, and found your recipe. Although the results are delicious, my cookies are not very attractive, and came out of the oven with two very different textures: one batch came out soft and cakey, the other, very crispy. I suspect this is a combination of my poor use of a food bag rather than pastry bag, and possibly my cooking times. The other problem I had, however, was that the surface of the cookies was very “bubbly.” Can this be due to the use of mixer, or something else?

    On another note, your “Edible Adventures” was a bible to me on a recent three week visit to Paris! I will recommend it to all my friends!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Amy – My guess is that the difference in texture is an oven temperature thing: it was probably not hot enough for the first batch, and a bit too hot for the second. I’d suggest checking with an oven thermometer to see if it’s properly calibrated. The texture to shoot for is crisp, but not too crisp.

    As for the bubbliness, it is probably because too much air was beaten into the batter: the idea is to mix it well, but without incorporating air into it. What kind of mixer did you use?

    And thanks for the kind words about the book — so glad you found it useful!

  • atesca

    Hi there. I’ve been making a lot of these bad boys following your recipe. I do have a problem though, the cookies are not crunchy at all, unless burnt. I searched other cat’s tongues recipes and they used about double your amount of butter. Are you sure your recipe turned out crunchy cat’s tongues? Sorry for asking, but I’m just really, really confused after some of the latest batches i made.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      This is indeed the recipe I use, and the cookies are crunchy. My best guess is that your oven runs hotter than mine, so that the cookies don’t have time to bake thoroughly in the imparted time. I would try lowering the temperature so they can bake more slowly and have time to develop a crunch. Also, the cookies only get crunchy as they cool: they’re still pliable when warm. Good luck!

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