Thanks to Dorie, this week’s coconut friands — otherwise known as tea cakes –solved a mystery. The recipe was so simple that I whipped up not one, but two batches (one for a baby shower at my husband’s school). This lovely tea cake immediately reminded me of the cakes I ate every day for about a month while we were in Hanoi.
The Hong Ngoc Hotel — a tiny hotel in Hanoi, near Hoa Kiem Lake –served a “continental breakfast” in the cramped and friendly lower level each morning. The breakfast included lots of fruit, meat and noodles, congee, and always these coconut cakes. They are similar to macaroons, but have more flour, and thus more of a cake feel. They are really a cross between a cake and a cookie, and not too sweet, thus perfect with strong coffee. When we got back from Vietnam, I looked in vain for a cookie/cake that would fill the void. What a pleasant surprise that Dorie has a recipe for these cakes. Because of the French influence in Vietnam, I should not be shocked that this little hotel was making French tea cakes.
The only problem with these lovely cakes is that they are easy to eat, and eat, and eat. Each little cake is a perfect couple of bites, and because they are small and perfect, you can eat a plateful before you realize what has happened.