Monday, February 18, 2008

Slow, Sweet Seduction

By Donna George Storey

Offering both luscious sex and delicious sweets, Sex and Candy will make your mouth—or mouths—water. Not to mention there’s a wealth of creative bedroom tips on how to make the most of candy canes, chocolate chip cookie dough and cupcakes of all kinds in bed with your sweetie. Hey, even your mother can’t complain about a good education.

Some stories take food as foreplay even farther—Shanna Germain’s “Kneading,” Jolene Hui’s “Banana Afternoon,” and Tsaurah Litzky’s “Old Fashioned Fudge,” and my story “Six Layers of Sweetness” about the baking of a fancy cookie-cum-weapon of seduction called Venetians. Made of layers of almond cake, apricot jam and chocolate glaze, these treats have seduced many over the years, and in full public view to boot. Monogamous in my sex life, I’m a real slut when it comes to baking and nothing makes me happier than the satisfied grunts and sighs of people feasting on my specialty.

Not wanting to hoard my secret, I present my recipe for Venetians, handed down from a friend over a decade ago, for any of you lusty bakers out there who like to extend your foreplay to a full day of finger-licking fun. Don’t be daunted by the long list of steps. Like sex, these cookies do require time and attention for the sweetest outcome, but trust me--the response makes it all worthwhile.

Venetians or Cookies to Seduce Your Sweetie
1 can (8 ounces) almond paste
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 drops green food coloring
8 drops red food coloring
1 jar (12 oz.) apricot preserves
4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate

Grease three 13x9x2 inch pans. Line with wax paper. Grease again.

Break up almond paste in a large bowl with a fork or whirl in food processor with a few tablespoons of the sugar until fluffy. Add butter, rest of the sugar, egg yolks, and almond extract. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in flour and salt.

Beat egg whites in a separate bowl with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. With a wooden spoon, fold into almond mixture by hand until just incorporated.

Remove 1 1/2 cups batter and spread it evenly in one of the prepared pans. Remove another 1 1/2 cups batter and add the green food coloring; spread evenly in the second prepared pan. Add red food coloring to the remaining batter and spread in the last pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or just until edges are golden brown. Do not overbake. Remove cakes from pans immediately. Tip: turn the green layer over directly onto a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet covered with parchment paper as it has a tendency to stick. Place a piece of parchment over the bottom of the empty pan and nest it in the yellow cake pan. Turn it over to release this layer onto the bottom of the empty pan. Repeat with pink pan. This makes it easier to slide the layers onto each other. Remove wax paper from bottoms. Cool thoroughly.

Place green layer on jelly roll pan. Heat apricot preserves; strain into a glass measuring cup. Spread 1/2 of the warm preserves over green layer to the edges. Slide yellow layer on top; spread with remaining apricot preserves. Slide pink layer, right side up, onto yellow layer.

Cover the layers with plastic wrap and weight down with a large wooden cutting board or heavy plate. Place in refrigerator overnight. The next day, remove from refrigerator for one hour. Melt chocolate over hot water in a bowl or cup. Spread to the edges of the cake. When chocolate is cool, but still soft, trim edges off cake. Cut into 1 inch squares. These keep in an airtight container for several days.