Dandelion flowers aren't just pretty. They are also extremely nutritious food and have none of the bitterness of dandelion leaves if you cut off the green bracts at the base of the flower cluster.
Light, bumpy, nutty and completely higgledy-piggledy-shaped, these cratered meringue nuggets are just the cookies to reach for with your last coffee of the afternoon or your last spoonful of ice cream at night. They are featherweight but packed with flavor, and I love the way they disappear in your mouth — quickly, so quickly and fizzily that if they didn't have nuts, you'd think you were eating espresso Pop Rocks.
Cookies don't get simpler or more satisfying than sablés, the basic butter cookie of France. They are homey, simple cookies that are sometimes flavored not at all (the better to show off their wholesome all-butter goodness) and sometimes given a spot of flavor, subtle or bold. At old-fashioned Pâtisserie Lerch, M. Lerch, whose affection for cookies is evident, generously flavors his sables with lemon zest and coats their edges with sugar so they emerge from the oven with a touch of sparkle.
These tiny, soft, intensely chocolate cookies are packed with pine nuts, while a little grappa gives them a welcome bite. Called Fava of the Dead in Rome, they mark All Souls night. The dark, almost black color gives these innocent little coins a threatening edge. In the Rome of the Caesars, people believed fava beans held the souls of the dead.
Simplicity and lightness define these sunny little treats, which are easy to make and even easier to eat, especially with chilled, homemade lemonade or hot tea or coffee. They are inspired by the Easter Week Yoemem, or Yaqui, in "the House of the Sun."