Monday, December 7, 2009

cookie presses and soirées

With cool weather consuming all of Texas, snow falling earlier this week, and heaters turned up, I noticed some things missing—the smell of fresh cookies and the sound of jolly holiday music. This led me to hosting a holiday party, for a little over 50 of my friends.
Amongst the different cheeses, crackers, colorful chocolates and festive libations (including eggnog and sparkling cider), were frosted sugar cookies.
Days earlier, my mom and I thought a cookie press would be a good investment. I hesitated at this purchase, for I generally follow the traditional rolling pin and cookie cutter guideline for making cookies. With technology booming and our society advancing daily, I thought I should give William Sonoma a chance. I took my cookie press back to Austin, eager to put it to use. My friend, Elana, came over to assist. We made our dough, let it cool in the refrigerator, and after some time we put the dough in the press. We followed the instructions, even watched a "how-to" YouTube video, and still struggled with the cookie press.
A cookie press should be simple: you put the dough in, slip on the shaping disk, press onto your cookie sheet, and voila your snowflake-shaped cookies are ready to bake! Well, my experience was quite different. I would call this gadget a "Cookie PYHO" (Cookie Press Your Heart Out), because it took my whole body to press the lever. You may be thinking, it's because your dough was too firm from post-refrigeration...but you're wrong. I let the dough sit for a while until it softened, and I still felt like I was getting a workout. My other complaint is that I had to actually cut the dough off of the press.
This gadget is supposed to make our lives easier!! It made my baking experience quite chaotic. I plan on returning William Sonoma's Cookie Press immediately, so don't buy it. I think I'll be just fine sticking to my traditional ways of baking with a rolling pin and cookie cutters.
On a sweeter note, my cookies were a hit! I just love decorative sprinkles and colorful icing this time of year—they make for an even jollier holiday!

my own incredible holiday cookie recipe:
2 cups bread flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 tspn vanilla
1 stick (8 tablespoons) vegan butter (Earth Balance)

Dry Ingredients:
Mix ingredients in a bowl, stir flour baking powder and salt together—set aside

Wet Ingredients:
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy, add the egg and vanilla, continue mixing until creamy.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix well until dough begins to take shape. Wrap in plastic put in refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove, roll out and use cookie cutters for fun cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for about 11 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may need to bake the cookies for a minute or two longer.

2 large egg whites
3 tspn lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar
add food coloring if desired

mix all together- add sugar slowly until shiny— be sure it forms glossy peaks.Frost sugar cookies. Add sprinkles if desired.

Bon Appétit and happy holidays!!

~the confectionist

Monday, October 5, 2009


this is my letter in memory of Gourmet Magazine, which after years of beautiful publishing is closing

Dear Gourmet,

You are probably unaware of my existence, but I am quite aware of your place in this world. Your words woo me with every page I turn. Your pictures captivate me and my sensory glands like no other. Your presence in my life has made me a better person through and through. I must humble myself in your honor, for your culinary expertise is far better than any other epicurean read I know of. You gave me passion, you gave me hope, you gave me irreplaceable advice. I am lucky to have known you. You were the highlight of my month. As I turned your pages I'd get lost in a world of sweet and savory delights— a seemingly fantastical world that you made real.
Ruth Reichl took good care of you. I am sorry that it's not in her power to keep you in our magazine racks and on our coffee tables. I believe that if it were her choice, she'd keep you around for years to come. I thank Ruth for her eloquent style and impeccable taste, and for displaying her manner in your name. Gourmet, I cannot express my longing to have a little more time with you. I hope to make you proud one day.

Au revoir Gourmet.


the confectionist

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sugar Cookies and Fall Days

The sweet smell of fresh sugar cookies reminds me of the first day of fall. With each whiff, of the warm vanilla-sugar aroma, my sensory glands are transcended— feeling a gust of crisp cold wind sweeping past my body. Opening my eyes brings me back to reality with warm air resting peacefully in the atmosphere.
Well if colorful leaves are yet to come, at least Ilya and I have discovered that we can recreate a sense of comfort through one little cookie (or a batch of 50).
Actually, this food frenzy we have goes beyond the powerful taste-buds in our mouths and the empty pits in our stomachs when we are hungry. Cookies for me (these at least), are a time machine, a memory, and even a dream. At first bite a subtle smile takes over my face, and as the warm flavors begin to take their place in my mouth my mind is at ease; I feel like the world is at peace and everyone is enjoying their evening as much as I am. I remember the when baking with pre-made dough and boxed mixes felt like an enormous accomplishment. As I appreciate the joie de vivre, I remember the last time I curled up on the couch with a warm cookie and a glass of milk.
Ahh... I love many other sweet luxuries, but cookies in its purest form— fresh, warm, sprinkle-free— are, without a doubt, the most mesmerizing of all sugary pleasures.

If you still don't understand how I feel, just try this recipe.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn baking powder
1 cup (softened) butter
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 tspn cinnamon ( favorite)

Oven 375 degrees F.

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  2. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks
[recipe courtesy of altered sugar and cinnamon]

bon appétit!

~ the confectionist ~

note: don't forget to close your eyes as you take your first bite

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm Back

Bonjour fellow readers,
It's been a long and food-filled summer. You musn't fret; I still hold the art of dessert-making close to my heart (and stomach). With my chum Ilya, standing by with astounding egg cracking skills, we have conquered many fabulous delicacies— a cool and creamy raspberry sorbet, cinnamon swirl bread that tastes like a cozy winter's day, vanilla muffins with a cocoa frosting, and a sweet mouthwatering kugel.
Now that I have checked in, and you know that I'm here to stay, I must get back to the kitchen.

au revoir amis!

the confectionist

p.s ~ look out for my restaurant review blog "the gourtmetist" coming soon...

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Last night I went out with my significant other and his family to my favorite restaurant, Asti. The bread, appetizers, and entrees were incredible as usual. I'll skip to dessert since I don't want to run out of space writing every detail of each fantastic course. 
We ordered Affugato with Warm Beignets (my usual), Raspberry Sorbetto & Summer Berries, and a Lemon Semifreddo. I started off with the Warm Beignets, for I knew they'd be "out of reach" (or resting in the stomachs of Vitali's family) if I waited longer than two minutes. I snatched one of the puffy cinnamon sugar delicacies, dipped it in the rich combination of Vanilla Bean Gelato and warm espresso. At first bite, the flavors were intoxicating with soft textures complementing the warm donut shaped pastry. Prior to this meal, I did not think there were any other desserts that could come close to the superiority of the affugato
Taking my spoon and scooping out a sliver of the raspberry sorbetto changed everything. The smooth frozen treat had a strong raspberry flavor. Perfection is the only way to describe the fresh sorbet, not too sweet, nor too tart. It was just right. Never in my life have I tasted a better sorbet than this one. To top it off, the scoop bathed in a shallow bowl of Prosecco. This splash of pizazz added elegance and delight to my new beloved dessert. 
The final dessert, I tasted was a (half-eaten by you know who) lemon semifreddo. In Italian "semifreddo" means semi cold or half cold. Now imagine, if you haven't already indulged in a dessert of this kind, a cold custard-like lemony dessert. The texture was creamy and smooth like gelato and the flavors of  sweet fresh lemons taunted my salivary glands; and left them begging for more. The presentation was fabulous, with drizzled sauces enhancing the natural beauty of the round semifreddo. 
Asti's fabulous cuisine will never fail to fascinate me, my taste buds, and my culinary imagination. 

Until Next Time Meal, 

The Confectionist

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chocolat, the Film

I recently watched the 2001 film, Chocolat. The plot was brilliant in exceeding my expectations. A mother and daughter, after moving from place to place, set up a chocolatier in a small French village. Since Vianne, opened her store during Lent, the townspeople resented her for tempting them with sinful chocolate. The village begins falling apart, as they deprive themselves of Vianne's fine delicacies. Only when one estranged woman enters the chocolate shop, do others begin satiating their lustful desires. 
This spectacular film romanticizes the art of chocolate making through scenes in a traditional-style kitchen, images of delectable treats, and passionate characters.  
If you haven't seen Chocolat, you must! Just be sure to have a chocolate(y) treat nearby; you will be craving it throughout the film. 

Friday, June 5, 2009


And the winner is... (drumroll)... POLKADOTS! This fine boutique cupcake bakery is conveniently located just blocks away from where I currently reside. When I first walked in  I felt as if I were walking into a Barbie dream house. The home-like architecture and pink wall colors eased my mind bringing my inner-child to my watery mouth, shaping it into a giant smile. I ordered a seemingly simple cupcake, "vanilla with chocolate icing" layered with mini chocolate chips.  The combinations of flavors and textures were anything but ordinary. It was absolutely transcending— moving me (and my tastebuds) to an imaginary world. I closed my eyes allowing all of my senses to wallow in bliss and all I could see were rows of these spectacular cupcakes. 
I have had my share of cupcakes. The local grocery store cupcakes are too commercialized with flavorless sugary icing putting my teeth through agony. Whole foods tries too hard to impress with colorful and outlandish icing designs. Maybe they are trying to compensate— but who's kidding who no pastry chef can can fool me. Sprinkles cupcakes are highly overrated; not to mention overweight with cake dense enough to sink a ship and frosting thicker than the molds dentists use to fit you for a mouth guard.
You know that gritty feeling you have in your mouth after you've been exposed to most icings or awful cake frosting? Now you can forget that. Polkadots icing is smooth, fluffy, and flavorful— just the way it should be. The cake is not too heavy nor too light, providing you with divine happiness with every bite. After years and years of searching for the ultimate cupcake, I have found the one. Tasting Polkadots for the first time was like seeing the city of Venice for the first time— it was like a dream. Lucky for you and me, Polkadots is no fantasy; it's reality.
This calls for a celebration...cupcakes anyone?!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Clouds in my coffee"

The lyrics to Carly Simon's "Your So Vain" rang in my ears when I was on my family vacation to South Dakota last week. I had an enjoyable trip, hiking, bicycling, inhaling cool crisp air and looking out at the breathtaking scenery of  the rolling black hills and mountainous rock formations. The skies were perfect with clouds resembling dollops of whipped cream, scoops of softened vanilla ice cream, and "clouds in my coffee." 
Please don't judge me for associating nature (and just about every commodity in the world) with dessert— you're just as guilty for splurging in this read! 
I know there is a deeper and darker meaning for the term "clouds in my coffee." These words do not simply refer to the cream slowly changing the dark color of a freshly brewed cup, nor to the blanket of froth comfortably resting on top of the hot liquid ready to leave a mark above your upper lip (milk mustache). As I pondered the meaning of Carly's words I tried coming up with a more positive interpretation, separate from this classic song. Looking out at the picturesque clouds in the sky brought images of my favorite treats like vanilla bean ice cream and light and fluffy whipped cream to my mind. This moment of truth is analogous to my thoughts when coming across across those four words in Carly's song; I can't get myself to think of anything but a creamy gourmet luxury. It is very frustrating since my interpretation of these words do not fit with the rest of her song, but maybe Carly was trying to teach the world a lesson that amongst conceited people and bad tasting food, lies clouds of cream and sugar. Clouds in coffee can be good— especially if you like milk in yours. Clouds in the sky are imperative, for they provide moisture for cocoa beans to grow properly and your cakes to turn out perfectly. 
So you may be wondering, how the bitter words of "You're So Vain" remind me of the great delicacies in this world. Let's just say that I look for the sweet aspects in life. After all if life is like a box of chocolates, there must be at least one truffle inside that will satiate your soul (if not your sweet tooth). 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Marble Schmarble

What do you think of when you hear the words marble cake? Is it a dense, vanilla and chocolate combination cake? Or is it a pound cake, with both chocolate and vanilla flavors? I'm used to the latter. Every time a close family friend travels to her hometown, she brings back loaves of marble cake from her favorite bakery. The reason why I say "loaves" is because each cake is tightly nestled in a pliable aluminum metal loaf pan. This cake is a moist combination of sweet and savory flavors of vanilla and chocolate. It has the texture of pound cake, for it is heavy and doesn't crumble when dipped in a cup of coffee. 
My great grandfather, as my Dad reminisces (every time he holds a piece of cake in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other), "was a dunker." Grandpa Al wasn't a pro-basketball player, but he was a master of cake eating. His technique entailed dunking a small wedge into a hot cup of coffee. Ahh, he was a great man! I'm proud to have a family so in tune with their taste buds and such formality in eating rituals. 
Prior to baking my first "marble cake" I did my research. I read recipe after recipe, looking for a match for the perfection I am used to. I even searched the dictionary; only to reassure I was making a proper marble cake. The only slice of advice I learned from Miriam, was that this delicacy is "a cake made with light and dark batter so as to have a mottled appearance." That did me no good— I should have realized that Miriam Webster is no Julia Child (well maybe of the communication world). 
I finally settled for the recipe, Marbled Butter Cake. I thought it would turn out to be one of the best dunks I've ever made. I'm an optimist, but it wasn't until I saw my mouth smudged with dark chocolate and yellow batter, that I knew my cake would at least taste good. Well, I guess I wasn't too worried as I was licking the bowl clean
As it turns out, my cake complied with Miriam's standards more than my own. It was a delicious cake, but not dense enough for the traditional dunk. If you're looking for a light chocolate and vanilla mixed cake, this is a good recipe for you. Don't fret if you're a dunker, I'll be on the prowl for the ultimate marble cake recipe. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Learning From Our Mothers

I couldn't make it home this weekend to see my mom for mother's day, therefore I am dedicating this post to her.

I'm having a little tea party tomorrow with a little over 15 of my closest girl friends. No, I am not trying make a political statement, rather a "farewell, have a wonderful summer" gathering with breakfast(y) foods— my favorite.
I was at Central Market a few hours ago and as I was picking out produce for the salads I plan to make, I noticed a woman struggling with the price-marking scale. On my way over to help her, a man dressed in a chef outfit (the standard buttoned jacket and cotton pants) ran up to her and explained exactly what to do. They must have known each other because they were sharing the same cart. I caught on when I saw a menu peaking out of their basket; this "take home chef" was shopping with his client for ingredients so that he could help her create a feast.
As I wheeled my basket, full of colorful California strawberries, Texas blueberries and the greenest cucumbers, I continued thinking about that woman. My first thoughts were wow, that must be really nice to have a professional chef help prepare a meal. For a moment I imagined how much easier it would be having a chef prepare food for my soirée, while I assist him. About a minute into that euphoric thought, I came back to reality with a sense of empowerment. I realized that the middle-aged woman, probably only cooks on occasion (if at all) and had no one to learn from when she was a young girl. Now, her mid-life crisis involves a chef and a grocery cart full of foreign items. At less than half her age, I confidently stroll through grocery stores choosing ingredients for my gourmet meals.
I am filled with remorse for not realizing sooner, that having a mother who I can learn from is invaluable. I don't know where I'd be without her lessons in charming people through the art of food. I have grown up watching her entertain guests with lavish meals and beautiful spreads. I have been her witness and aid in the kitchen. I have seen her make the the moistest German chocolate cake and have enjoyed eating it with her too.
I stand in my kitchen today, and the rest of my days, as her daughter hoping to emulate the poise and composure she possesses when creating the perfect dining experience for family and friends. This Mother's Day, I dream that I too can be such an exemplar for my daughter.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I went to dinner with a couple of confidantes the other night. When a friend confessed "I don't like chocolate" my mind began to race, for I was truly perplexed. I couldn't help thinking, that she is lying. In all my life, I've met few people who dislike chocolate— or at least who say they do. I don't think it is even possible to detest this rich creamy treat. White, Milk, Bittersweet, Dark...the breeds of chocolate are endless. I understand if one does not enjoy the sweet buttery taste of white chocolate, but to discriminate against all types—ce n'est pas possible! 
For the past year dark-chocolate has been my favorite fixation. When my grandfather told me that chocolate with 60% cocoa or higher is "good for you" I began justifying my actions.
A few chocolate chips and fresh strawberry slices in plain yogurt, always satisfies my sweet tooth. Chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate kisses— you can never go wrong with chocolate. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Too Good Not To Eat

I guess you can say I was in a baking mood this week. Last night I attempted to make, David Lebovitz's chouquettes, which are French, bread(y), cookie-like pastries. Adding cinnamon and sugar to the glaze made these light airy pastries even more delicious than my taste buds had hoped. When it comes to dessert, I have no self-discipline. Therefore my refrigerator stocks only fruit, vegetables, soymilk, water, dark chocolate, and plain yogurt. When I bake, my lack of control becomes an issue; if I keep a pile of cookies on my counter I always overindulge. 
This is one good reason for having an admirable suitor in your life, as I do. I knew that if I made chouquettes, he would be more than willing to take a plate-full (piled high) of these delicacies. When I called Vitali this afternoon, to be sure to set two aside for a couple we are going out with tomorrow, his gleeful response was "too late, I ate them all." At least now you should be convinced that Lebovitz's chouquette recipe is worth trying. But if your cookie jar seems inexplicably low, send me a message and I'll talk to my cookie monster. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cafe Au Lait

I'm fascinated by the omnipresence of coffee. People wake up in the morning and the first thing they do is make a fresh cup. Millions of people are drinking coffee at this very moment— decaf, tall, grande, large, small, cappuccino. There is probably a gas station at which you can pump the coffee yourself, a unique little coffee shop, or a Starbucks around the corner. Coffee
 does not stop at its diversity of flavors and pungency; with all of the extras you may add, one could write a novel. Sugar, cream, saccharine filled sweetener, chocolate, caramel... the list goes on.  None of those appeal to me, for I am a purist (or so I like to think). I like coffee with milk (soy) or what the Italians call caffe latte. This is my favorite drink; a day without it, is a day incomplete. When it's hot outside an iced latte cools me off while providing me with the utmost delight. If it's mid-December a hot latte has a way of warming me and my cold hands up, as my wintery-chapped mouth slowly absorbs the rich flavors.  
If it would provide me with the nutrition doctors say I need, cake and coffee is all I'd consume in a day. I'm not the only one in my family with great-taste— it's genetic. I remember Dad telling me, that when he was just a lad, he'd walk into the kitchen  and on numerous occasions his parents would be sitting around the table with friends and shmoozing over coffee and cake.  I remember the first time I enjoyed coffee was with my father, when I was a young girl. Dad was taking me to buy house-slippers for my cold feet; they were pink with one white embroidered clock on either shoe. Instead of going straight home after our purchase he turned to me half-smiling and said, "Rachael I have a surprise for you." I remember anxiously waiting for Dad to arrive at this "surprise" destination. He finally parked the car and there it was. On the outside there was a sign with a funny shaped woman on it, and I asked what "Starbucks" meant. Dad explained that it was the name of a new coffee shop, first established in Seattle. I never tasted a drop coffee until that day. We went in, and he ordered a tall latte with skim milk. After his first sip, he used the word "superb" as  he always does when describing something he likes. I tried the foreign drink after it cooled, and admitted that I too like the taste of the latte. I vividly remember the cozy velvet chairs we sat in as we absorbed the atmosphere of this new coffee-house, that I would later describe as American imperialism at it's best
As I reflect on that day I wonder if I actually enjoyed the taste of coffee or just said I did because I've always wanted to be just like my father, which at the time entailed doing and saying everything he did. Whatever the answer may be, today, I whole-heartedly, genuinely and willingly enjoy the aromatic warm flavors coffee. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

At Last...

At last, my love has come along... The words to Etta James' song, were ringing in my ears as I took a bite of my home-made chocolate chip cookie. I finally found the recipe that I will soon inscribe in my leather-bound journal that I use as my cook-book. This is the recipe that I will use to fill my cookie jar that will sit on my kitchen counter. These are the cookies my children will eat with a cold glass of milk, and the cookies I will adorn with shiny ribbon as a get-well remedy for a sick friend. I guess my cookie disaster the other night was a "felix culpa" or a happy fault— a mistake that resulted in finding the perfect recipe. These quick and easy, dairy-free, 100% whole wheat, chocolate chip cookies are delicious delicacies will satiate every cookie lovers sugary fantasy! Hurry up to your kitchen! 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cookies Gone Awry

I've been searching for the "perfect" chocolate chip cookie recipe for a while now. The perfect cookie entails the right amount of crunch and chewiness in the same bite. It must be sweet, but not cavity inducing. The perfect cookie must be made with whole wheat flour and vegan butter so I can call it "healthy"  (well really justify it for myself) while tasting like the creme de la creme.   Turning to the Toll House recipe is just not good enough for me— it's just as homemade as buying the Toll House "break & bakes." I'm starting to think that the agony of finding the right recipe is just not worth it. But my palette, told me otherwise a few nights ago. 
My friend, Nicole, and I spent last Thursday evening baking chocolate chip cookies. We were off to a late start, probable around 9:51. I wanted to try a new recipe, one that I found on a favorite blog of mine. I have never been so precise when baking, we double checked the instructions and used exact measurements. I like to use Earth Balance, vegan butter, instead of regular butter filled with large amounts of artery clogging, heart attack causing cholesterol and fat. The sticks are packaged in half size. Therefore, 2 cups of butter would mean 4 sticks of Earth Balance. 
We mixed the batter, placed little balls of dough on two shiny pans, and put them in the oven. As we anxiously waited, Nicole and I cleaned the bowl. Mmmm cookie dough. 
With 6 minutes to go, I turned the oven light and saw that our cookies had merged together to form  large pans of what looked like mush with specks of glistening chocolate. It was so bad that on one of the pans, the slop of cookies began to dripping off the edge. When the timer turned off, the result was an ugly and tasteless mess. I thought this recipe would be the end to my interminable search! I was ever so wrong. 

A few days later, I replayed the steps we took when baking over and over again in my head. I continued analyzing the chocolate chip recipe, seeing where we could have gone wrong (or where the maker of this recipe went wrong). It hit me like a gallon of milk being thrown at my head— we only put 2 halves of Earth Balance in the batter! 
Lesson learned: you can't expect to master the "perfect" cookie recipe past bedtime.
I plan to make a new batch this week. Any recipe suggestions? 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Scream For...GELATO

It's pretty warm in Texas and being that it's still Passover, I've  been craving chocolate ice cream— gelato. Dad and I went to Italy, on a "father-daughter" trip, and I can proudly say that we ate our way through the fabulous country. We were on a tour and from time to time we'd ditch the group to do a little exploring of our own. On our own time, we got a taste for the real Italy. Among all the beautiful churches and ancient ruins is a country filled with the most delectable food. In every city from Orvietto to Rome every corner you turn down lies a quaint gelato shop. After my first spoonful of bacio (chocolate with hazelnut) gelato I fell deeper in love with Italy. The rich nutty and cocoa flavors combined with the cool and creamy texture created a symphony in my mouth. Dad and I would eat gelato at least three times a day, but I could've eaten a lot more. In Venezia gelato tubs, are adorned with unique masks and decorations beautifying the frozen dessert. You know you're in an exquisite place, when even the ice cream shops are sparkling. 
If you get the chance to travel to Italy, forget dieting. Be sure to stop in every gelateria to see it's uniqueness and if you can't resist, try every flavor there is. 
Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Since I observe Passover, many foods are restricted. This is one of the hardest holidays, because it involves eating only simple foods for eight days— no bread, no corn, no rice, no beans, no soy products... I've been noshing on vegetables, almonds, strawberries and eating lots of apples. As I bit into a red apple today, my crunching could not distract me from thoughts of the delicious apple pie I made for Thanksgiving. Barefoot Contessa's fabulous recipe took me three hours, but the result was well worth it. It was perfect. Just thinking about the cinnamon and spicy flavors combined with the buttery flavor of the crust makes my mouth water. Only two more days to go... 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

If You Give a Mouse A Cookie...

I was told that the "Oreo of Argentina" is called an alfahor. The only similarities between these American and South American delights, are the sandwich-like form and the popularity. I tried my first one in Cordoba, after a long day of painting a kindergarten. 
We were given an hour-break before night activities, so Erin and I decided to explore the area. The city is unlike anywhere I have ever been- with shops practically on top of each other and intricate details on the buildings. We trotted along, with backpacks on our backs- making us tourists very distinct. We had no shame in stopping and admiring the uniqueness of hardware specialty stores; and meat hanging all around tiny grocery stores. We saw little kiosks with chocolate, cigarettes (of course), snacks, and all different types of alfahors. I wasn't sure what the most popular brand was at the time, but there was one package that stood out to me. It was transparent. I could see the brownish coloring of the alfahor and the dulce de leche oozing out of the sides. It looked home-made, gourmet- I had to try it. I bought two, one for me and one for Erin. 
I carefully unwrapped mine, it was like holding a piece of glass- light and delicate. Afraid of shattering the cookie-like delicacy I put it to my mouth. Unaware of its life-changing ability, I took a bite. The alfahor had a soft texture. As I slowly chewed, the flavors began to excite my taste buds. Sweet. Light. It tasted like the sugarplum fairy from the Nutcracker ballet. Oreo's are undeniably, crunchy, chocolate(y) and delicious. But alfahors, are capable of satisfying me and my salivary glands in ways even a Nutcracker couldn't imagine. Do yourself a favor and try one of these treats.