The biscuit was created in Reims in 1690. A Champenois baker wanted to take advantage of the heat of the bread oven in between batches. He had the idea to create a special dough and bake it twice. (The word “biscuit” means “twice-cooked.”) The little cookies were originally white, and the vanilla beans used to flavor them left unappealing brown spots so the baker used a natural red dye to cover them. Et voilà! The biscuit rose de Reims was made.
The biscuits are best enjoyed dipped in champagne or wine (either red or white). They also go with tea and coffee. And then just like the many kings crowned in Reims, you’ll have a royal treat.
4 large eggs (separate the yolks from the whites)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
drop of red food coloring
powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting the cookies
pastry bag with 1/4-inch smooth tip
Preheat the oven to 300°F (180°C). Mix the yolks, sugar and vanilla in a bowl using a hand blender with a whisk attachment, on increasing speeds over a period of 5-6 minutes. Beat in 2 of the egg whites for another 2 minutes. Beat in the remaining 2 egg whites and the food coloring for an additional 2 minutes until the mixture begins to form stiff peaks.
Sift the flour, cornstarch and baking soda into the bowl, folding in gently with a spatula. You want a final result that is smooth and uniform in color. Scrape it into the pastry bag.
Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and grease it with either butter or non-stick spray. Squeeze out strips of the mixture that are 1/4-inch wide (about as wide as your finger) and about 3 inches long. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. (You don’t want the biscuits to start browning though, or else they won’t be pink!) Take the biscuits out, sprinkle them with more powdered sugar and place them back in the oven for another 12-15 minutes.
When you take them out, quickly cut the edges of the biscuits so that you have even rectangles. Do this before they cool, or else they become rather difficult to cut. If they cool before you finish, you can place them back in the oven for a few minutes to soften.
Serve with a semi-sweet Champagne and enjoy!
Alternatively, you can buy the biscuits from Maison Fossier, manufacturers of the pastry since 1691!