When a fellow cook introduced Anita Lo to polvorón, a Filipino milk candy, in the 1990s, she was instantly obsessed. "It's everything that everyone adores: malty and nutty, loaded with brown butter, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture," says Lo, chef-owner of Annisa in New York City. Later, during a year she spent traveling around the world, Lo stopped in the Philippines and learned to make the crumbly sweets, adding toasted walnuts to create her own version. (Her wrapping, though, is traditional: colorful waxed paper that's twisted at the ends.) "For me, food gifts tell a story—about a culture or about where you learned to make it or about what you love," Lo says.
Get the recipe: Polvorón