My visits to Joshua Tree have been consistently magical (for lack of a more appropriate word) and this time around wasn’t at all an exception.
I made the venture out to the hi desert to do two things: 1) film a video for Bubble Child to showcase my favorite coffee in the world: Joshua Tree Coffee Company and 2) to play a little concert for my solo project I’m just releasing this year. I could not have been more delighted with what came out of both music and coffee discoveries and my affection for this place went from large to Sequoia-sized.
On a rather chilly Monday afternoon, I packed up my tri-pods, cameras, and hunger for caffeine and trekked through dusty roads in the middle of cactus, coyotes, and little cabins to the main strip of Joshua Tree Village. It’s a tiny village, really, just a few blocks of central “boutique stuff”, and it’s utterly charming. There is where you will find the headquarters of Joshua Tree Coffee Company, a shockingly petite sort-of back office space to a building hosting a yoga studio, pizza parlor, and a few other shops. I’m not good with square footage, but imagine you have a large living room, attach a tiny closet to that for storage, and a little alleyway to enter. That’s Joshua Tree Coffee Company. Sales desk and coffee roaster included.
It’s so weird how two of the cookies magically disappeared before I could get to the camera. So weird.
Experimentation with these classic cookies made me very happy today: not only does rice flour work incredibly well as a substitute for wheat flour, but it actually tastes lighter, cleaner, and more delicate in these traditional treats. They aren’t manfingers, after all. High five, gluten free!
Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and prepare either a pastry bag with a 1/2" tip or get out a large zip-lock bag to improvise as your pastry bag. Measure out ingredients and separate eggs into yolks and whites before you start whisking a thing!
Whisk your yolks until they are a bit frothy and mousse-like either by hand or in an electric mixer over medium speed.
Add 1/2 of the sugar and whisk vigorously until it is "blanched" or white and stiff enough to not move around easily when tilted. (about 4-5 minutes by hand or 1-2 minutes over medium-high speed in a mixer.) Set aside.
Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. (Same goes for electric mixer/by hand as above.)
Add the remaining 1/2 of the sugar and whisk vigorously until stiff peaks form, aka, the "bird beak" phase. Immediately add about 1/3 cup egg whites into yolk mixture and whisk together.
Gently pour the egg yolk mixture over the beaten whites (you don't want to flatten your whites or your yolks, or you'll have flat ladyfingers!) Very gently stir together the yolks and whites with a spatula, making sure not to push down on the mixture to maintain the air and bubbles in your meringues.
Lightly dust the mixture with all of the rice flour, and, once again, very cautiously incorporate the flour into the mixture with a spatula just until flour is combined and you no longer see any chunks of it. (Do not overmix.)
Scoop you mixture into either a pastry bag with a 1/2" tip or a zip lock bag and cut a 1/2" opening. Pipe your ladyfingers to about 2 1/2"-3".
Bake for about 8-11 minutes, depending on the power of your oven, or until tops have turned golden and the bottoms are also cooked and the middle is cooked through, meaning, no liquid. Remove delicately from the paper after cooling for a few minutes.