I’ve written before about how travel and recipes are intricately linked for me (and I know I’m not the only cook who feels that connection).
Here’s the latest example of my attempts to resurrect my vacations at home through baking, this time prompted by The Demel Café (the famous pastry shop that’s been crafting sweet treats in Vienna for nearly 225 years) opening a branch in The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.
Although the location is less than ideal -- a shopping arcade in the Plaza’s bowels, crammed in next to a jewelry store and the escalators -- all is forgiven once you settle into the gold silk couches behind marble-topped tables and enjoy a brauner (an espresso with milk) and a slice of pastry (I’d recommend the Dobostorte, Apfelstrudel, or Fragilite).
The original Demel’s in Vienna has an Old World feel and more extensive menu that just can’t be duplicated, but I was thrilled to find this recipe for the Amadeus cookies that the Vienna location serves. I remember tasting them years ago on a visit to this city on the Danube and being amazed at the complexity of flavor in Viennese desserts (which are not just sweet, like many American desserts).
This cookie is two buttery discs sandwiching a Kirsch-spiked almond paste, and then dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. Very rich and delicate, they are perfect with a cup of coffee.