The Aztecs have been making these crunchy, sweet honey cakes for many centuries with puffed amaranth, a super-nutritious grain that's native to the Americas. For special occasions, they included human blood; we didn't, but our Alegrías are chock full of other traditional ingredients, like pepitas, peanuts, and raisins.
Petit Fours are just the thing for a tea party, which is what I think of as I make them. They might look like dipped confections, but they're tiny almond cakes, two layers that are filled and glazed with silky bittersweet chocolate ganache, and topped with a handmade decoration. They appear occasionally at the Farmer's Market, but are always available for special order.
My Dad always kept a box of "Mother's Oatmeal Cookies" in a desk drawer. These cookies are sort of like that, but made with a full flavored mix of whole grains -including barley, oat, and whole wheat flours- and glazed with cinnamon icing. These cookies are seriously delicious. Thanks to the talented pastry chef Kim Boyce- I adore her new "Good to the Grain".
One dozen cookies: $15
This is a classic Middle Eastern treat, a soft, semolina cookie filled with a richly spiced date and walnut filling.