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First Fried Cookies

Makes about 20 cookies

Crispy and golden brown on the outside, tender and touched with nuts and fresh fruit on the inside, they lure anyone within sniffing range with their wonderful aroma.

Find this recipe and more in Chef Paul Prudhomme's Kitchen Expedition.

¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
3 tablespoons kirschwasser
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground dried chipotle chile peppers
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup corn flour
¾ cup water
¼ cup sliced fresh strawberries (or cherries)
¼ cup fresh blueberries
vegetable oil for frying
powdered sugar, optional
how to prepare

Preheat the oven to 300°. 

Roast the pecans and walnuts in a dry cake pan or pie pan in the oven until they begin to darken and give off a rich toasted aroma, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Roast  the hazelnuts in a separate pan also in the oven until the brown skins rub off evenly, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly,  then rub the hazelnuts together in a kitchen towel or between your fingers to remove the skins.  Set aside. 

Separate the eggs.  In the small bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the whites and the cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks, about 4 minutes.   

In the large bowl of the mixer combine the yolks, sugar, rum, kirschwasser, vanilla, cinnamon, paprika. chipotle, salt, baking soda, all-purpose flour, and the corn flour.  Mix just until combined, then add the water and beat until the batter is well combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Gently stir in the nuts, strawberries, and blueberries, then very gently fold in the egg whites.  Refrigerate the batter until very cold, at least 1 hour.

When the batter is very cold, pour enough oil into a 12-inch skillet to measure 1 inch deep and heat it over medium heat to 300°.  Use an electric skillet or a cooking thermometer and adjust the heat  to keep the oil temperature between of 300° and 325°.  When the oil reaches the correct temperature, remove the batter from the refrigerator and place it in a large bowl one-third full of ice and water.  It is very important to keep the batter very cold, for it is extremely delicate and will dissipate in the hot oil if it warms while sitting out.  With a large serving spoon, scoop up about  3 tablespoons of the batter and gently drop it into the oil, moving the spoon sideways to drag the batter into an elongated oval shape.  Fry the “cookie,” turning every 30 seconds or so,  until it is medium brown and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes.  When the cookie is done remove it from the oil and place it on paper towels to drain.  Gently stir as you scoop up the batter for the next cookie (to keep it from separating), and repeat  the process until all the batter is used.  Sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar if you like, and serve immediately.

Copyright © 1996 by Paul Prudhomme

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