In his new book Payard Cookies ($22; amazon.com), French pastry chef François Payard, owner of his renowned eponymous patisserie, teaches readers about the power and importance of the humble cookie. He writes: “A platter of cookies adds a nice touch, a little something extra, at the end of the meal and invites lingering around the table and a cup of coffee or a glass of grappa.”
We couldn't agree more and this holiday season, we’ll be making Payard’s Sesame Florentines, which were inspired by his favorite packaged Middle Eastern sesame bars and only require five ingredidents. Seriously! (FYI, these guys take well under an hour to prepare and are a few sophisticated notches above the classic snickerdoodle and chocolate chip variety.) Try the pleasantly easy recipe below.
Makes: About 24 cookies
3½ tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
¼ cup sugar
½ cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tbs sesame seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and heavily spray two mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and honey. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, almonds, and sesame seeds. Spoon about 1 tsp of the mixture into each mini muffin cup. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the florentines turn light golden brown.
3. Remove from the oven, and let cool slightly. Place a sheet of waxed paper on your work surface. While the pan is still warm but the florentines have begun to firm up, turn the pan over and tap the bottom so that the florentines fall onto the waxed paper. If you wait too long and have trouble removing them, place the pan back in the oven for about 1 minute, just enough to warm up the pan and soften the cookies. Let the florentines cool completely on a cooling rack, then store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks, placing waxed or parchment paper between the layers to keep the florentines from sticking to one another.