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Shannon Swindle's Baci d'Uomo

This is the fifth in our monthlong series, 12 Days of Cookies, featuring classic and inventive recipes from across the country.

Eating a meal at Craft is one of the more formal dining experiences in Los Angeles.

That doesn’t keep pastry chef Shannon Swindle from ensuring that the sweeter side of the meal is lighthearted and fun--not to mention delicious. The night after news of the Twinkies possible demise set off a collective shudder across the Internet, Swindle served his own version of the cream-filled cake as a mignardise.

Holiday cookies are overtaking that platter of small, sweet bites now. You might find lime meltaways or Swindle’s own take on the Italian cookie baci di dama--"lady kisses." Swindle, who was recently featured in a Frontiers L.A. story about gay chefs working in Los Angeles, decided that men deserved some kisses too. Thus, his baci d’uomo ("man kisses") were born (click here for the recipe).

Swindle incorporates chocolate into the traditional ground-hazelnut-heavy batter, giving the baci a Nutella-like flavor, but with a darker, bittersweet edge. These sophisticated little bites scream for an espresso or a splash of Madeira rather than a glass of milk.

Santa surely won’t mind the change in beverage options.

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