"I loved to eat these when I lived in Asia," says Rasmussen. "Pocky sticks are Japanese but they're all over Taiwan and Hong Kong too." The flexible dough lends itself to myriad shapes, but long pocky sticks look great on a dessert bar in a glass because they bring height to the table.
1/2 cup (160 g) sweetened condensed milk
2 2/3 cups (350 g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. (46 g) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. (120 g) unsalted butter, chilled
In a small bowl, stir together condensed milk and 1/4 cup water.
In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Cut or rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Stir in milk mixture just until combined. Flatten dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour. "Shaping the dough into a disk helps it chill evenly and quickly. And chilling relaxes the dough so it won't spring back when you're rolling it out."
Preheat oven to 300°. Break dough into marble-size balls (15 g each). Roll in your palms until smooth and dense. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll each ball out into a 1/4- by 10-in. rope (cover remaining balls to keep them moist). Lift onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush with egg and bake 15 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a rack.
Meanwhile, put candy canes in a double layer of resealable plastic bags and crush with a rolling pin. Pour onto a plate.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or metal bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water until about half-melted; stir. Transfer to a 9- by 13-in. baking dish. Let cool until it thickly coats a spoon, 10 minutes.
Set dish on counter with the long side facing you. Place a folded dishtowel under one end so chocolate pools at other end. Roll each stick in chocolate to cover 3/4 of cookie. Holding stick over a clean bowl, sprinkle with crushed candy and set out on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper to dry, about 30 minutes. "Don't refrigerate these; they'll get soggy."
Make ahead Dough, up to 3 days chilled or 1 month frozen airtight; baked, up to 3 days airtight at room temperature.
More pockys, please
STAR OF DAVID Halve dough rope. Form 1 rope into a triangle; form another on top. Brush with egg and top with blue or silver sparkling sugar; bake.
CANDY CANE To half the dough, add natural red coloring, such as India Tree. Lay 1 plain dough rope alongside 1 red rope. Roll ends of double rope in opposite directions to twist. Curve into a candy cane; brush with egg; bake.
CHRISTMAS TREE Use slightly larger dough balls for longer ropes. Leaving 1/2 in. for trunk, coil rope into sideways figure eights. Brush with egg, sprinkle with green sparkling sugar, and bake.