One of Sapporo’s most famous food icons is the langue de chat sandwich cookie. It’s French in origin but it’s enjoying quite a bit of popularity among locals and tourists alike. I guess it makes sense since making baked goods like this is a way to put Hokkaido’s amazing dairy to good use.
It’s pretty amazing how French pastries are enjoying such a surge in Asian countries like Japan and Korea. Famous Asian bakery chains that incorporate Asian elements to classic French breads and desserts have been doing so well they’ve branched out globally, even to the Philippines. They’ve given birth to this new pastry fusion that I personally feel lucky to get to eat! This langue de chat recipe with a matcha twist is a pretty good example.
If you’ve been reading my Sapporo Travel Diaries, you probably know that we paid a brief visit to the Ishiya Chocolate Factory– makers of the beloved Shiroi Koibito cookies. Being there and seeing the creation of these cookies, I knew it was only a matter of time before I decided to try making a homemade version inspired by that visit. And well, here we are.
But before we jump into that, I wanted to share with you guys my little Travel Video condensing my whole Sapporo trip into less than 7 minutes. Here you will also get a glimpse of the Shiroi Koibito being made with so much care.
When you visit their factory, you get a good look at the actual production of the cookies. It wasn’t just the way the machines were churning out the cookies that fascinated me, but also the commitment to quality control that I saw with my own eyes. Every piece of cookie is checked just to make sure they come out perfect for everyone’s enjoyment. It was a constant reminder for me as I made these cookies in my own kitchen.
Individual blog posts: 8 Unforgettable Winter Experiences in Sapporo City // 7 Food Experiences to Try on Your Sapporo Adventure // Sapporo Snow Festival 2017 // Moerenuma Park // Historical Village of Sapporo // Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium // Sapporo Jyogai Market
A really cute thing about the Shiroi Koibito is that roughly translated, it means “White Lovers”. I think it’s so called because of how the two pieces of the super thin and buttery cat’s tongue cookies embrace a thin layer of white chocolate between them. They’ve come up with a milk chocolate variant too.
Lots of other brands make their own versions of langue de chat sandwich cookies though, which just goes to show how popular they truly are! My favourites happen to be from Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory and Le Tao. Both of them have cheese-based fillings that lean a bit on the savoury side, making me like them loads better because they’re less sweet. Maybe if Shiroi Koibito were to have a dark chocolate filling in their lineup…
With that thought, I decided to create langue de chat cookie sandwiches with a dark chocolate filling this time around. I love having the freedom to experiment when I try to remake something on my own. It’s my curiosity that has driven me to maintain this blog after all, so I will continue to be curious!
After finding a solid base recipe for these cookies, I decided to add another twist by making matcha-flavoured langue de chat. Again, just out of curiosity. I didn’t know how they would turn out, but having to add a bit more powder/dry ingredient did alter the consistency of the cookie batter. I could feel the difference as I piped the vanilla and matcha cookies in alternating sequences.
I added the matcha powder to just to half of my cookie batter in case it didn’t turn out well. The texture of the matcha cookies after baking was a little harder than the vanilla/original cookies and not as melt in the mouth or crispy, but they were still quite delicious. I was pleasantly surprised. They would be perfect with some recipe tweaking.
Admittedly I could use a bit more practice in the piping department, because my cookies looked super wonky. Piping them was definitely back-breaking work just because you use only a bit of batter for each cookie. You’ll end up having to pipe a lot haha!
The cookies do spread out quite nicely but my cookies came out rather lumpy because of the uneven way I piped them. Don’t pile on too much of the batter to keep the cookies thin and get that melt in the mouth consistency. However thick cookies will still be quite buttery and yummy, so not to worry!
If you want square-shaped langue de chat like how the Japanese make them, make sure to create a stencil (like the one below) to follow as you pipe. A square that’s about 1-1/2 inches on all sides would be good, and then when you pipe, it might be best to follow the square shape from the outside-in to get your cookies to be more even on the surface. Otherwise, you can just do the French style pipe, wherein they make a sort of an oblongish cat’s tongue shape with just one squeeze of the bag.
As for the filling, it’s totally optional. These cookies work best with a thin filling and this is where I messed up. I didn’t weigh my chocolate because I was trying to use up some leftover bittersweets and ended up melting too many! I used an 8-inch pan with maybe 200 grams chocolate (definitely too much!) and ended up with a filling that was too thick.
A thick filling can tend to overpower the cookies, and that would be a big shame because the cookies are pretty good on their own. I ended up not turning them all into sandwich cookies and leaving some naked, but they were devoured either way. I made over 52 cookies, made sandwiches out of half of them, and they were gone in less than two days.
Makes over 52 cookies (or over 26 sandwich cookies)
- 100 grams very soft unsalted butter
- 60 grams granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 100 grams cake flour
- Flavourings: 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for regular cookies) OR 1-1/2 teaspoons matcha powder (for matcha cookies), or halve the measurements if you want to make both in one batch
- 100 to 150 grams dark or white chocolate, for optional filling
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- 2. Cream butter with a whisk until very smooth. Add the sugar and whisk until well-combined.
- 3. Whisk in the egg and make sure it is well-mixed before adding in the cake flour. Gently mix until thoroughly combined.
- 4. Add in your choice of flavouring. Since I made half vanilla and half matcha, I divided my batter into two before adding in 3/4 teaspoon vanilla in one bowl and 3/4 teaspoon matcha powder in another. Mix thoroughly to combine.
- 5. Transfer mixture to piping bag/s and snip off the end. Pipe onto your parchment paper in your desired shape. Make sure to keep it within 2 inches in size.*
- 6. Bake for 10 minutes until cookies are set and outside border has browned into a crisp. Allow to cool completely before eating or filling.
- 7. Melt your chocolate in a bowl over simmering water until smooth. Line an 8-inch pan with aluminum foil and pour in the melted chocolate. Spread the chocolate evenly the pop in the freezer to chill for about 10 minutes or so, just until it sets but is not completely hardened. (Otherwise the chocolate will crack when you slice it.)
- 8. Slice the chocolate once set, using your cookies to determine the size. Sandwich between two similarly-sized cookies and enjoy! (Or refrigerate first for a bit if chocolate has softened too much.)
- *If you want to make Shiroi Koibito-style filled cookies, first make a stencil of 1-1/2 inch squares to place under your parchment paper when you pipe.
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