Gimme EuroFinger

In food on 04/24/2009 at 3:27 pm

While von-traipsing the Upper East Side mid-morning, we happened by a Hungarian restaurant with a bakery in front. We had just scarfed down an Italian hero from a deli, so we were in the sandwich-y mood. For dessert then, we bought a quarter pound of one of my favorite cookies: mini-butter sandwich finger cookies dipped on one end with chocolate, sans Lil’ Italy sprinkles.

Leave it to the Europeans to fetishize the finger into desserts. First there was the lady finger, a vital ingredient in the tiramisu; then there’s the finger sandwich cookie, made even more appealing and crisp with the long ridges. It’s a more buttery version of the kind you find in those ubiquitous Danish cookie tins, the Smørdejgskager. They are the perfect combination when two cookies are glued together with jam and dipped in chocolate. It’s all about the counterpoint between soft cookie and QQ jammy chew.

Every country in Europe seems to have a version of the butter cookie. The Upper East Side, aka Yorkville, is their last bastion, each with its own pocket grocer, butcher and pastry shop. So while the cookie we bought isn’t truly Hungarian, it’s like the kolache. They also had very crispy filo-wrapped struedels there, which reminded me of Cafe Sabarsky inside the Neue Galerie, a re-creation of cafés 19th century Germany. You can smell the ennui wafting through the air when you’re sipping your espresso there. Their pastries are not as sweet as you’d expect, even the sachertorte. Apparently that’s how they do it in the old world, probably just to save on sugar.

1 1/2 cups butter
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla.

Add dry ingredients, mixed from a separate bowl, and mix well.

Place dough in a pastry bag fitted with a number 4-S tip (‘star’), and pipe out in 3″ mafioso fingers on cookie sheet.

Bake 5 – 7 minutes. Cool. Sandwich together with any berry jam and dip one end in melted chocolate (Add sprinkles if you like to strap on a fannypack).

finger lickin' good

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