"Les Petits Sweets: Two-Bite Desserts from the French Pâtisserie” by Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride, Running Press, $18, 304 pages, hardcover
If you’re looking for a tasty, tiny bite — and I do mean tiny — to end a delicious meal, then the recipes in “Les Petits Sweets: Two-Bite Desserts from the French Pâtisserie” are for you.
The cookbook by baking instructor and pastry chef Kathryn Gordon and food writer Anne E. McBride celebrates little treats like the French eat. “Two bites: It’s about moderation but also about sophistication and elegance — two very French traits,” Gordon writes in the cookbook’s introduction. “We wanted to explore the mini-sweets, from the ones that are traditionally petite to smaller servings of true classics.”
Like their first book, “Les Petits Macarons,” the authors’ newest book includes recipes for macarons, but also offers recipes for little financiers, madeleines, tea cakes and cookies, éclairs, tartelettes, petits fours, savarins, caramels, marshmallows, nougats, and much more. Recipes are accompanied by lovely, full-color photographs by Evan Sung.
These desserts feature imaginative flavors, such as Earl Grey Tea-Lavender Ganache Tartelettes, Apricot-Blood Orange Marshmallows, Carrot Cake Petits Fours with Grand Marnier and an orange fondant, and Fig-Fennel-Mascarpone Madeleines.
While each recipe includes technique information and, often, several variations, the book begins with a chapter offering extra baking tips. Among them: Bake by weight, using digital kitchen scales for consistent measurement.
If you like to make quick and substantial desserts, “Le Petits Sweets” isn’t the book. But, if you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and want to learn classic French baking techniques, you will like this one.
The recipe I tested from the book, Cranberry Palets with Apricot-Run Glaze, says it makes about 60 (2-inch) cookies. But, I got only about 40 one-bite-size cookies. Despite their extra tiny size, the sweets were a hit with the members of my dinner club. Everyone who tried them wanted the recipe.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.