My favorite cookie of the moment, and a cupcake with a crown made of cookie butter.
The Cookie Question
Le Petit Chéri certainly looks the part of a French café. Its expansive space offers a wellspring of accents, paeans to Paris: Eiffel Towers as decorative replicas, and on plates, renderings in chocolate as garnish; macarons, some as large as a platter and mistaken for a hamburger when viewed from on high; and berets, perched jauntily on the servers’ heads. It’s cool and classy in here, diffused sunlight shining in from the large picture windows and what’s this ? a gilded, curving staircase stretching to the second floor where I’m told a library awaits.
The glass display case abounds with the usual patisserie pleasures (croissants, quiches, mousses, et al) and a plethora of for-one cakes. It apparently astounds me so that I’ve forgotten to snap a photo of it. I graze on a chocolate cake, nibble on a banana-Nutella crepe, and sip the so-they-say bestseller, the White Rabbit iced coffee – inspired by the candy with the same name. But I’m unmoved.
I have eyes for only one thing, you see: the polvoron cookie (P78). Neither French nor Filipino, at least not ostensibly so, it’s a sweet that requires some mental readjustment. We’re all familiar with polvoron, that “dusty” candy-cookie-confection boosted with all manner of mix-ins, its gritty, frighteningly addicting sugariness, perhaps its greatest come-on.
Plate-large as you can see here, its grid of grooves are a constellation of crinkles and crimps, its shade straddling the color lines between khaki and tawny. It’s a cookie that confounds me however. It’s not at all powdery like a polvoron but the toasted flour flavor is there. The cookie resists a bite almost, it’s chewy, trailing breaths of butter behind the palate. And no, it’s not gritty — save for its rough surface, it’s as smooth as can be.
This is a genius of a cookie, the brainchild of a brilliant baker. As I type this, I have four cookbooks and two baking science books spread out before me so that I can offer an explanation as to how this cookie came to be and why it tastes the way it does. But I can offer none. Only that you must try this cookie posthaste, and when you do, invite me so that we can dissect it and discuss what makes it so unique.
Le Petit Chéri
El Molito Commercial Complex, Molito Lifestyle Bldg.
Madrigal Avenue corner Commerce St.,
0917 511 0138
Open daily: 7am to 10pm
On Facebook: LePetitCheri
A Cupcake Made From Cookie Butter
Ever since I detail my disappointment about Larcy’s Cupcakery earlier this year, I’ve stayed away from it. That’s not to say that it’s out of sight-out of mind however, as I pass by it almost every weekend when I’m in the South. I don’t like being let down, and when it comes to dessert, it’s especially devastating.
But my not-so-little girl, Boo (who at 10, is almost as tall as me), is currently enthralled with all things cupcake and today, she’s with me and my Bin on our weekly jaunt to the South. Upon entering, she’s thrilled by the pink, cute as a button motif, and wastes no time sorting through the merchandise for sale, before finally deciding on a shirt that reads, “Cupcake Monster.”
As is characteristic of children raised by opinionated, food loving moms such as myself, Boo is very decisive. She has the Bananutella cupcake, and for my Bin, the Valrhona Triple Chocolate. I’m a plain Jane when it comes to cupcake flavors – a regular vanilla will do it for me every time – but today I spy something different: Vanilla Cookie Butter Cupcake.
Now, cookie butter has all but been blown out of the water by cronuts in terms of popularity, but when it comes to versatility, the former is still king. I’m also suspicious of mash-ups with a trendy ingredient because it oftentimes feels forced. But as I’m about to discover, this is not the case here.
A soft cake perfumed in vanilla cradles a dollop of cookie butter – taupe in yellow, spice on butter. Gently sweet, the cookie butter’s now-familiar notes resound once again in the frosting atop and – crunch! – ooh, what’s that? “French cookies,” the server tells me. They’re feuilletine, crisp and brittle, caramelized shards sparkling from the summit of this sweet. An inspired, innovative take. I have to swat away the eager hands of my Bin and Boo.
The other cupcakes seem to have improved too, they’re tender and more moist. But the winner today is the vanilla cookie butter cupcake, which also comes in a chocolate version. What appears to have deteriorated, unfortunately, is the Hot Frozen Choco Velvet beverage. Where once it’s creamy and cool, now it’s just cool. Ice replaces chocolate, water to make up for less milk. Ah, might as well add more whipped cream to disguise all ills.
178 Aguirre St.,
BF Homes, Parañaque
(02) 799 4174