GIFTABLE SWEETS, TAKE 1: Very good chocolate with a nice, crisp interior make Dark Wafers from Max Brenner. The thin layer of hazelnut cream inside is a bonus in these 50-cent-piece (remember those?) size disks. 2.8 ounces in a small tin, $11.50, at Max Brenner, 7263 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda (301-215-8305).
GIFTABLE SWEETS, TAKE 2: Behold the Baum Cake, short for baumkuchen. It’s a true American success story; Karl Moritz and Heather Alcott, a husband-and-wife team in Denver, Colo., are producing a pastry that’s said to have originated in 14th-century Germany. When it was introduced to Japan in the 19th century, the Japanese came up with a special rotisserie oven to make it. Moritz and Alcott bought and assembled an oven to create their own baum cakes, which take about 24 hours, start to finish. Their baker applies 15 to 21 thin applications of batter, each timed separately, to create the hallmark concentric circles.
The cakes are then glazed and toppings are applied. The result shames any hankering for cronuts. Baum cakes are soft and chewy, with real flavor in the layers. The shelf life is a good 10 days. Shown here: the Mount Baum Trio (5 inches wide by 4 3 / 4 inches tall; $32), with Cointreau and Callebaut chocolate. Matcha glazed with limoncello and pumpkin glazed with maple rum and Callebaut chocolate are available. Order via www.glazebaumcakes.com or soon through www.deananddeluca.com.
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