Preparation / Directions:
Pour the melted butter into a 1 quart bowl; reserve. Put the sifted flour, 1 tbsp of the sugar, and the salt into a sifter or sieve; sift onto a piece of waxed paper and set aside. Put the eggs, yolks, and 1 tbsp of the sugar into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer (or work with a hand-held mixer). Holding the whisk attachment from the mixer in your hand, beat the mixture just to combine. Add the remaining sugar and whisk by hand to mix. With the bowl and whisk attachment in place, whip the mixture on medium speed until it is airy, pale, and tripled in volume, like softly whipped cream, 4 to 5 minutes. You'll know that the eggs are properly whipped when you lift the whisk and the mixture falls back into the bowl in a ribbon that rests on the surface for about 10 seconds. If the ribbon immediately sinks into the mixture, continue whipping for a few more minutes. Pour in the vanilla extract during the last moments of whipping. Detach the bowl from the mixer. Sprinkle about one third of the flour mixture over the batter. Fold in the flour with a rubber spatula, stopping as soon as the flour is incorporated. Fold in the rest of the flour in 2 more additions. Gently spoon about 1 cup of the batter into the bowl with the melted butter and fold the butter in with the rubber spatula. Fold this mixture into the batter in the mixer bowl. (This is the point at which the batter is at its most fragile, so fold gingerly.) The batter is now ready to be used and, in fact, must be baked immediately. Position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 400 F. Line two 12 x 15 1/2" baking sheets with parchment paper and, using a ruler and a pencil, draw pairs of parallel lines 3 inches apart across the baking sheets, the short way, spacing them 1/2 to 1 inch apart. Marked this way, each sheet will give you room to pipe 3 dozen ladyfingers. Fit a 16 inch long pastry bag with a 1/2 inch plain decorating tip and scoop all of the batter into the pastry bag. Using the marked lines on the baking sheets, pipe out ladyfingers that are 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long, keeping them about 1/2 to 3/4 inch apart so they'll have room to expand. Turn the confectioner's sugar into a sieve and, tapping the sieve with side of your hand, coat each ladyfinger heavily with sugar. Baking the cookies: Bake for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the ladyfingers are firm but feel spongy when you press them lightly with your finger. You want just a light, thin crust to develop on the delicate cakes. These should barely color, so take care not to overbake them. Transfer the ladyfingers, parchment paper and all, to cooling racks. When the ladyfingers are cool, slide a spatula (a pancake turner is good) under a long side of each ladyfinger and lift the cakes off the paper. If the ladyfingers have puffed and baked together, as they often do, separate them by running a pizza cutter between them. Storing: Ladyfingers are best they day they are made. You can keep the cookies in an airtight tin for a day or two or freeze them for up to 10 days in a plastic container with waxed paper between the layers. Thaw, still packed, at room temperature.
Makes 6 dozen ladyfi