Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Sweetness - Dentelles de Bruges

Happy Mother’s Day!

My mother lives across the ocean, so it’s been a while since I’ve seen her in person on this day. I do call her, even though it can’t quite compare.

My mother has always fed me well, and for that I am very grateful. She always made healthy meals, introduced me to a variety of foods, and cooked for us nearly every evening – which, as I soon realized, was not the case for some of my friends’ moms. And now that I am interested (well, more than interested) in cooking myself, she shares with me all the advice and tips she has. I turn to her whenever I’m unsure about a dish, and she nearly always has the answer. So really, there is a lot of her on this blog, even when I don’t mention her.

Now, ideally, I would share one of my mom’s recipes with you today. Unfortunately, I don’t have any documented or photographed ones on hand at the moment. I can think of a bunch I would love to share, but when I do, I want to do it right. Don't worry, you'll get them.

So instead, I’m going to give you a recipe my grandmother taught me. I’m talking about my father’s mother. She… actually doesn’t have quite the same passion for cooking that my mother and I have, which may seem odd: it often seems like all of our grandmothers are goddesses in the kitchen. My grandmother is a passionate gardener, but cooking is not really her thing. Nevertheless, because she lived through a time where women prepared all the food, period, she did end up acquiring a knowledge of cooking. She taught me how to make mayonnaise from scratch. And she also taught me today’s recipe: dentelles de Bruges.

“Dentelle” means “lace” in French. And the Belgian city of Bruges is famous for its elaborate, delicate lace. These dentelles, however, are not of the thread variety. They are paper-thin crisps that are a sugary, buttery delight. They are extremely easy to make, and are great eaten on their own as a sweet treat, or as a garnish for a dessert or an ice cream.

So, for Mother’s Day, here’s a little sweetness.

Dentelles de Bruges

Yields about 7 dozen cookies

200g (1 cup, 7 oz) unsalted butter, softened
200g (1 cup, 7 oz) brown sugar (preferably non-refined cane sugar)
100g (3/4 cup, 3.5 oz ) flour

Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF).

With a whisk of a fork, combine the brown sugar and the butter. Incorporate the flour, until you obtain a mealy mixture.

Take teaspoonfuls of the dough, and place them on a baking sheet, making sure to leave enough space between them, as they will spread. Put the baking sheet in the oven.

Keep an eye on the cookies, as things will be happening very fast. The dough will melt and spread, then begin to bubble. When the cookies start to brown at the edges, remove the baking sheet from the oven.

Let the cookies cool until they have hardened, and remove them from the sheet with a spatula.
Repeat this process as often as necessary, until you run out of dough (use several baking sheets if you want). Store the cookies in an airtight container.

NOTE: If you prefer your dentelles to be a little less brittle, add a bit more flour, until you obtain a texture to your liking.


  1. Oh how pretty. I love them. Maybe your grandmother did not love cooking much but what she did make was wonderful!

  2. They sure look lovely! You know the funny thing is that I don't really remember if my grandmother liked cooking. My mom sure does not so I definitely did not get my love of cooking from her. But my brother also loves cooking, so there must be some kind of genetic vibe going on that I haven't figured out... lol..
    Anyway; these dentelles look perfect!

  3. Wow, these look beautiful, can't belive it only requires 3 ingredients! I have a question though, does the mealy texture resemble a pie crust dough mixture? And do you just loosely spoon them onto the baking pan or do you have to pack it up into a little mound? i really want to try this!

  4. These are one of my favorite cookies. I always make them for the Christmas holidays. I call them lace cookies. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  5. Hello valérie!!

    I so love that you have been thaught this Belgian delicacy!

    I love these biscuits to bits!! MMMMMM,..they look wonderful!

  6. What a beautiful Mother's Day post. Love Bruge! Do they make these there, or are they a French creation?

  7. These look great, with such simple ingredients... :) I'll defintely be trying these!

  8. I was in Belgium many years ago...amazing memories. Bruges has got to be one of the prettiest towns I've ever had the pleasure to experience.
    And, yes the lace is abondant.
    I found your cookie recipe extremely easy and I will most certainly have to try it.
    Thanks for sharing grandma's recipe with your readers.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia