The experts behind the recipes here may be famous for their complex creations, but some of their best sweets are their simplest.
The bakers at some of the best new French pastry shops in the country are world-class talents. Many of their intricate pastries have hard-to-pronounce names that might put off the locals. And yet these bakers fervently wish to make their creations less intimidating. In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Chris Hanmer staffs his CH Pâtisserie with "dessert ambassadors" to guide customers, while at Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City, Ansel actually refers to his delicate version of the classic French pastry kouign amann as DKA (Dominique's Kouign Amann) because it's easier to say. Yet all these bakers balance their most elaborate pastries with fun, simple sweets. William Werner sandwiches peanut butter between shortbread cookies at Craftsman & Wolves in San Francisco; across town, Yigit Pura adds multicolored seeds to nut brittle at Tout Sweet. French sweets are not scary, say these bakers, they're delicious. And here are their most giftable recipes to prove it.