Sweets Savant

Sophisticated cookies and more from ByM Desserts

Great dishes stay with you, their flavor burned into your memory.

One such dish was Malika Ameen's sticky toffee pudding, rich with dates, oranges and deeply spiced caramel, at the now-shuttered Aigre Doux in River North in 2006.

Our memory of Ameen's sophisticated versions of homey desserts such as apple pie, shortbread cookies and house-made Oreos is that each was a superior example of its genre. We're pleased to report that the same holds true for her line of sweets, ByM Desserts.

Her newest cookies ($12 for 13) are soft, almost brownie-like bittersweet chocolate rounds with a surprising jolt of fresh lime juice and zest, and a garnish of smoked salt. Lemon-lavender shortbread ($12.50 for 15 cookies) are buttery, crisp and sprinkled with lavender-scented sugar.

Ameen's new granola ($15 for 2 pounds) has dates, sunflower and sesame seeds, and oats, bound with clover honey and bolstered with a trace of cinnamon. Slivers of translucent candied orange zest are strewn throughout, the zest first cooked in sugar, then dried until brittle.

Ameen does custom orders as well. A recent request for a rhubarb-and-lemon dessert manifested itself as lemon cake with rhubarb preserves, lemon cream, candied zest and caramel.

Come summer, she'll create similar compositions in cupcake form, with seasonal fruit flavors that render the overplayed sweets timeless rather than trendy.