Lengua de gato are Filipino butter cookies that are thin, crispy and so buttery. They’re very easy to make at home so you can enjoy them with your coffee, tea or whenever the craving hits.
(Are you a fan of butter cookies? These melt-in-your-mouth, buttery shortbread cookies will definitely make you happy!)
I’m usually Team Chewy when it comes to cookies. Given a choice, I would pick the soft and chewy cookie 99% of the time. The 1% is reserved for really special cookies, like lengua de gato.
Lengua de gato cookies are popular pasalubong (roughly translated: souvenir) from Baguio, known as the summer capital of the Philippines. In a country where the average temperature is 30C / 86F, Baguio’s temperature has been known to dip down to 15C / 59C and lower (and that’s a very big deal).
The best lengua de gato is without a doubt from the Good Shepherd convent (yes, the same place that makes the best uba halaya, which inspired my homemade ube halaya recipe). Perfectly crispy, just the right thickness (that is to say, thin!), not too sweet, totally addicting.
This lengua de gato recipe results to the same thin, buttery, crispy cookies we love and grew up with. And they are surprisingly easy to make too! Let’s get to it.
Lengua de gato in english
Before that, though, in case you’re wondering about the name, lengua de gato is Spanish for “cat’s tongue”. And these cookies are called that because of their shape.
The cookies are oval, rectangular-ish, similar to a cat’s tongue. I’m a dog person myself so I had to google pictures of cats lol but yeah, it totally makes sense.
How to make lengua de gato
Making lengua de gato is easier than you think. The ingredients are pantry staples:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Egg whites
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
I use my stand mixer to make the cookie dough but you can use a handheld electric mixer too.
To get evenly sized cookies, I use a large, disposable piping bag but if you don’t have one, you can use a Ziploc bag instead. Just cut one of the corners/tips.
There’s really no excuse not to make these delicious cookies!
The best lengua de gato recipe
1 PREHEAT. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets or cookie trays with parchment paper and set aside.
2 BUTTER. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until soft and creamy (2-3 minutes).
3 SUGAR. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes). Remember to scrape the bottom and sides of your mixing bowl.
4 VANILLA AND EGG WHITES. Add vanilla extract and egg whites and beat until incorporated (4-5 minutes).
5 FLOUR AND SALT. Switch to low speed and gradually add flour and salt until combined.
6 PIPING BAG. Transfer the cookie dough into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with one of the tips cut to about 1/2 inch in diameter.
7 PIPE. Pipe 3-inch long cookies on your prepared baking pans, allowing about an inch of space around each cookie.
8 BAKE. Bake the lengua de gato for 12-15 minutes or until they’re dry in the middle and starting to turn a light brown on the edges.
9 COOL. Remove the pans from the oven and allow the cookies to slightly cool in the pan. After a few minutes, slide the parchment paper into a cooling rack to allow the lengua de gato to cool completely. Carefully peel cookies from the parchment paper and enjoy!
How to store lengua de gato cookies
Lengua de gato can be stored in an airtight container on the counter for about a week. Keeping them in an airtight container ensures they don’t go stale or soft sooner.
And make sure the cookies cool completely before storing.
How to package lengua de gato
I remember lengua de gato are usually sold in plastic containers with those yellow plastic caps. The cookies are arranged standing up and packed pretty tightly together.
I understand now that this is because these cookies are fragile and can break easily. So the traditional way of packaging them is the happy path that results to the fewest cookies breaking in half.
If you’re giving these away for Christmas or selling them, best to add a piece of food grade packaging tissue paper around the cookies to protect them from the tin they’re in. Makes it look pretty and festive too!
Recipe and baking tips
I find this cookie recipe more forgiving than others. Here are more tips to make baking lengua de gato that much easier!
- As with most baking recipes, start with softened butter. This will make mixing your dough easier and help you avoid over-mixing it.
- The key to baking evenly sized and evenly baked cookies is piping evenly sized cookie dough on your pan. You don’t have to measure each one; just do your best to make each cookie roughly the same size (see photo above).
- Another important little gadget that all bakers must have and one that I highly recommend is an oven thermometer. It’s inexpensive and ensures you’re baking at the correct temperature every time.
- When baking cookies on 2 pans, I use the convection bake feature on our oven which ensures hot air is circulated around the cavity of the oven, reducing hot and cool spots and helping pans on every rack cook evenly. If you don’t have this, and especially if your oven has hot spots, you may want to rotate pans halfway through baking.
Lengua de gato are so easy to make, buttery and delicious, and ready in 15 minutes. They’re a great addition to your cookie recipe box and makes for a lovely gift this holiday season.
Filipino Lengua de Gato Recipe
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets or cookie trays with parchment paper and set aside (see notes).
- In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat ½ cup butter on medium-high speed until soft and creamy (2-3 minutes).
- Add ½ cup sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes). Remember to scrape the bottom and sides of your mixing bowl.
- Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and egg whites and beat until incorporated (4-5 minutes).
- Switch to low speed and gradually add 1 cup flour and a pinch of salt until combined.
- Transfer the cookie dough into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with one of the tips cut to about 1/2 inch in diameter.
- Pipe 3-inch long cookies on your prepared baking pans, allowing about an inch of space around each cookie.
- Bake the lengua de gato for 12-15 minutes or until they’re dry in the middle and starting to turn a light brown on the edges.
- Remove the pans from the oven and allow the cookies to slightly cool in the pan. After a few minutes, slide the parchment paper into a cooling rack to allow the lengua de gato to cool completely. Carefully peel cookies from the parchment paper and enjoy!
- Total number of cookies depend on how big/long you pipe your cookie dough. I usually get at least 60 cookies from this recipe.
- I use these large cookie sheets – Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Big Sheet.
- See post for complete step-by-step photos, baking and storage tips.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make lengua de gato? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
More cookie recipes for Christmas
If you’re looking for more cookie recipes to bake over the holidays, these are easy, delicious and so merry!
Ube crinkles are soft, fluffy and bursting with the ube flavour you love.
Meringue cornflake cookies are delightfully chewy, filled with crunchy cornflakes and bursting with bits of chocolate chips. It’s the kind of cookie you’d love to eat on a cold winter day, sitting by the fire, sipping hot chocolate or warm milk.
Snickers cookies are soft, chewy and packed with pieces of Snickers candy bar in every bite.
Chewy M&M cookies are the best kind of chocolate cookies — soft and chewy, so chocolatey and a breeze to make! Use holiday M&Ms and you’ll have cookies that will be the star of your Christmas cookie tray.