Ingredients3 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons sugar until pale yellow and thick, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the mixture with the sifted cake flour (this is one of the rare occasions when sifted flour is necessary for a light and delicate finished product). Do not stir. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat together the egg whites with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter, mixing until just incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the batter and fit with a round 1/2-inch tip (a large plastic bag with the corner cut off will also work). Pipe the batter into lines 3-inches long, keeping a good inch between the cookies on the baking sheet (in the pictures above, I piped 4-inch lines for a special project). If the room is hot and humid, chill the baking sheet before piping; it will prevent the ladyfingers from spreading too much due to the heat.
Sprinkle the cookies lightly with powdered sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are barely browned and the cookies spring back when touched. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack. The cookies will stick to the parchment if allowed to cool on it. Serve immediately.