Brown-sugar Poppyseed Sandwiches

January 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

Sometimes I get really into hearty cookies. That might be the reason behind my obsession with digestive biscuits and why I regularly snag them off the hors-d’oeuvres table whenever they are available. I would never put anything on them, I find them perfectly crumbly, buttery and gritty as is.

One of the reasons I love traveling is the variety of textures desserts take depending on the region. While desserts in the U.S. are often light, fluffy and made mostly with white flour, desserts in Laos are often gummy and made with coconut and tapioca flour. I particularly loved this one slice of cake I had at a restaurant in Vienna that was packed full, practically black, with poppy seeds. I was very happy when a similar poppy seed cake, this one a little lighter in color, appeared in a friend’s kitchen in Prague, made by a Hungarian visitor, who has since become the Hungarian girlfriend of one of the roommates. That morning, we spread thick slices of the speckled cake with raspberry jam and before we knew it, the entire pan was empty. It was grainy while remaining moist and had a heft to it that many American cakes lack. We thought about it for months afterwards and kept asking when the girl was coming back.

While I haven’t tried to recreate the poppy seed cake at home, I have been using poppy seeds quite liberally lately. These biscuits are a perfect example. Thin and light, but made entirely with whole-wheat flour, they have a dense crumb with crispy edges and a subtle sweetness, like a caramel prematurely removed from the fire. Two thin biscuits are sandwiched around a delicate spread of melted dark chocolate, to which I added a sprinkling of fleur de sel while still over the heat. They are a perfect accompaniment to a pot of tea on a foggy day, and made their way onto our holiday cookie plate this year.

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