What American sweets would you make for about 50 Parisians? I promised to bring a sweet to a class party for my students (early 20s). I don't have a mixer and have determined that chocolate cookies will be too difficult. Also, I will have to transport this with me in the metro, so it needs to hold up to jostling. What would be typically American, not too difficult to transport, and delicious? Any ideas?

  • Posted by: lloreen
  • February 7, 2011


lloreen February 9, 2011
Thanks for all the great advice. I agree that chocolate chip cookies would or cheesecake would be interesting for native Parisians, but I decided to go the easy/inexpensive route and made cocoa brownies. They seemed to be a big hit since two batches disappeared in minutes!
SeaJambon February 8, 2011
And I'd give a very EMPHATIC vote for chocolate chip cookies. As mundane as they are (while quintessentially American), I can tell you that two French exchange students, one Spanish exchange student and one Swiss (Geneva -French speaking part) can't be wrong -- each one thought this was absolutely the BEST part of being in America (the Spanish exchange student was especially cute -- her English was very limited at first but she quickly learned that if she pulled the chocolate chips out of the pantry I'd make the cookies. Only s'mores came close to equalling the chocolate chip cookie experience).
ChefJune February 8, 2011
I'll join the chorus for brownies. I have French friends who request I bring them whenever I go. I would vote for more plain brownies rather than gunked up with goodies (although I do love the add-ins). I'd keep them more "pure," with maybe just some toasted chopped pecans and/or chunks of bittersweet chocolate.
amysarah February 8, 2011
Lloreen - just an fyi - some regular French grocery shops carry their own version of cream cheese, labeled 'fromage a tartiner' (sorry, can't do the accent grave over the 'a' on my keyboard!) Might be kind of expensive, but easier to find than true imported American cream cheese. (I learned this from David Lebovitz, who I trust for all things related to food shopping in Paris.) But plain brownies...or with chopped nuts...sound more than fine on their own too.
lloreen February 8, 2011
Thanks for all the great suggestions! I think I will try brownies. I would love to do the cheesecake brownies, but I don't think I will be able to find cream cheese anywhere in my neighborhood. It just doesn't exist outside of specialty-American stores. I still have sticker-shock from a 9 dollar small bag of cranberries at Thanksgiving, so I will stick to French ingredients. Hopefully the students will love a chocolate-rich brownie!
betteirene February 8, 2011
Too bad you've ruled out chocolate cookies. It would be fun to serve Jacques Torres' take on chocolate chip cookies next to the original recipe of Ruth Wakefield's/Nestle Toll House.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html and

What about peanut butter cookies or snickerdoodles? I also like brandon's suggestion for lemon squares. They're all mixer-free, and I'd put them up against madeleines any day. Or strawberry shortcake, the biscuit kind. If strawberries were in season, you could tote the components separately (aerosol whipped cream) and assemble them in class.

I'll take the risk of sounding extraordinarily snotty by suggesting that if you wanted to serve something quintessentially American, the fast-food and convenience-store type of American, you could serve something that involves assembly only, like Magic Cookie Bars or Seven-Layer Bars http://www.eaglebrand.com/Recipes/Details/Default.aspx?RecipeId=3934
or Jello Jigglers or S'mores or something made with Cool Whip.
innoabrd February 8, 2011
Brownies. Take it from an expat, foreigners think they are just so American...
brandon February 8, 2011
the classic, lemon squares with powdered sugar and a fresh blueberry
gigiaxline February 7, 2011
I vote for brownies with cream cheese also. Here's a posting from David Lebovitz's website about how the French love their cream cheese brownies: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/10/cheesecake-brownies/ and I am partial to the following recipe for brownies...so good!! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/outrageous-brownies-recipe3/index.html
amysarah February 7, 2011
Just had another thought (though I still think you can't go wrong with brownies swirled with cream cheese.)

Maybe you could personalize it by making something that relates to where you come from. For instance, pralines if you're from New Orleans or that area; key lime pie (or tarts) from Florida - regular limes work fine in a pinch; something with maple from New England (if you can find it there); cheesecake from NY and so on.

pierino February 7, 2011
If it were I, I would make New Orleans style beignets and maybe pack along some chicory coffee. Ooooh, la, la, la!
Threemealsaday February 7, 2011
Pecan pie tarts or smores
Sadassa_Ulna February 7, 2011
I missed that part about no mixer. I'd vote for cream cheese brownies because they are so good!
drbabs February 7, 2011
I would do pralines--a regional (New Orleans) treat. Here's Emeril Lagasse's recipe:
amysarah February 7, 2011
Oddly - in the land of fine cheeses - Parisians seem to love plain old American cream cheese. (Referred to as 'Le Philadelphia', for obvious reasons.) I'd heard, but didn't believe, it was really considered a delicacy until I experienced it first hand.

So, going with the all-American brownie idea - I'd make cheese cake brownies (chocolate brownies with a cream cheese swirl.) Should be a hit.
latoscana February 7, 2011
There are quite a few brownie recipes here: http://www.food52.com/recipes/search?recipe_search=brownies. Brownies are simple to make, you can mix by hand, and they are hardy for transit dans le metro.
beyondcelery February 7, 2011
How about peanut butter brownies? I'm just combining ideas here, but when I was in Paris, people seemed to ask me about both brownies and peanut butter. So you might as well combine them! Mixing a small amount of powdered sugar into the peanut butter makes it slightly more like a Reeses filling and it'll behave better as peanut butter veins through the brownies.
hardlikearmour February 7, 2011
I think brownies would be perfect, although I'm kinda perverse and would probably make a kitty litter cake which would only help to solidify the notion that American's are uncouth. ;)
mrslarkin February 7, 2011
Brownies, definitely. So easy to bake and transport. Depending on where you are from, you can get American chocolate candies to stud the brownies, like Hershey's peanut butter cups and Peppermint Patties.
Queen O. February 7, 2011
Peanut butter somethings, either peanut butter cookies or choc covered peanut butter balls or truffles. My partner lived in France for 5 years and always brought back Reeses cups whenever he made a trip to US.
Sadassa_Ulna February 7, 2011
Chocolate chip cookies!
aargersi February 7, 2011
Oh wait - you are MAKING them not bringing them .. well what part of the country are you in? Can you bring some local porduct along and use it in something? Brownies are a good idea - easy and who doesn't love a brownie!!!
aargersi February 7, 2011
Well if it was me I'd bring Longhorns, of course :-)


lizinchi February 7, 2011
What about brownies? When I lived in France it was one of those American things I was asked about-- as in, "Since you are American, do you like brownies?" They're not common in France and with the right recipe they'll be impressive to even the most discerning French chocolate lover. And you don't need a mixer, and they'll travel well!
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