Recently, while exploring wine country of San Francisco, we stopped at some great eateries and bakeries. The first one, Picco in Larkspur, along with it’s great selection of larger tapas -style ‘entrees’ had amazing Soft Center Chocolate Madelines. The second, Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, had the best French Macarons. Inspired by these great desserts I am on a French kick in my kitchen. I am starting with these little darlings…
You say “Madeleine” I say “Madeline.” I’ve seen it spelled both ways. This classic French pastry recipe comes from my trusty Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. Every recipe I have made from this book -and there are more than I can count on my fingers- has been a roaring success. This one is now on top of the list of favorites.
1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for pans
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Only 8 ingredients. I know, crazy right?
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together flours and sugar; set aside.
Add the lemon zest and extract to the cooled butter, stirring to combine. In a large bowl, combine the eggs with the salt, and whisk until frothy. Whisk in reserved flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the butter mixture with whisk. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 12-mold madeline pans, and dust with four, shaking out the excess. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip. Pipe the batter into prepared pans, filling each mold about halfway.*
Bake, rotating pan halfway though, until edges of the cakes are golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Immediately invert the madelines onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Madelines should be served the same day they are baked.
*I didn’t have a 1/2-inch tip, so I just used a regular plastic storage bag with the corner cut off. You can also simply spoon the batter into the pans. You will also notice I didn’t fill my pan (I only have one) just 1/2 way. I filled pretty much up to the edge. They didn’t rise much, so I thought they were perfectly proportioned
I still had a little bit left-over batter (*see note above) so I used these cute little tins I got from my Grandmother’s house.
C’est magnifique!! No?
These are absolutely amazing on their own, but for wow factor, serve with raspberry sorbet!
I apologize, I should have posted this recipe while it was still Fall, but I got distracted. Pumpkins are now out of place among my annual Christmas favorites: red & green colored M&Ms, Trader Joe’s Candy Cane JoJo’s and my various Christmas scented candles scattered about the house. Luckily for me, the flavor of pumpkin and spices is always welcome – any time of year.
As much as I love baking, there are certain baked goods, I have yet to master. I can now safely say I’ve mastered cookies, and am doing just fine in the pie department. I’m getting better at cakes, need to work on cupcakes but over Halloween I had an utter FAIL at my first attempt at Cake Pops I’m hoping to explore more pastries…. scones are not my strength–yet!
The perfect compliment to a tea or coffee, you may recognize pumpkin scones from the corporate coffee giant, Starbucks. I enjoy theirs and really wanted to make my own. I adapted a recipe by Brown Eyed Baker, which I found after a quick Google search.
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg*
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
6 Tablespoons cold (salted) butter
½ cup canned pumpkin, I used canned Organic
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 large egg
Powdered Sugar Glaze:
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
* I really can’t resist fresh nutmeg, but using already ground nutmeg works just as well here
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in a large bowl. Use a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and forms pea size lumps.
In bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the pumpkin, whipping cream and egg. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients; roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 4 inches by 12 inches. Use a large knife to slice the dough making three equal portions. Cut each of the portions in an X pattern (four pieces) so you end up with 12 triangular slices of dough. (Mine ended up pretty small, which is fine- it minimizes the guilt!) Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
While the scones cool, prepare the glaze. Mix the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth. When scones are cool, drizzle glaze, generously, over the scones.
While the powdered sugar glaze is firming, combine all of the ingredients for the spiced glaze. Drizzle over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving, about an hour.
If you try these, let me know what you think!
I’ve got a few more jobs to finish editing, but I’ll do my best to get going on some Christmas-y recipes, lord knows- if I don’t start my usual holiday baking & crafting I might implode!
Coffee drinkers and ice cream lovers unite!
This recipe is quite a bit more involved than the Vanilla Bean ice cream, but man, is it worth it! The base of the ice cream is a custard style– perfect if you are from the Midwest like me. Frozen custard is big out there, even in the middle of winter when it’s 17 degrees outside- just ask Rob
Custard style just means it’s made with egg yolks, combined with the cream it creates a silky, smooth texture. Add coffee to it and it suddenly seems like a grown up treat. If you are not into the texture or eggs, you can easily modify a cream based ice cream recipe.
Even if you are not a big coffee person, this one is worth a try.
Recipe from Simply Recipes
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans (decaf unless you want the caffeine in your ice cream)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee (press grinds through a fine mesh sieve)
Heat the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan until it is quite warm and steamy, but do not bring to a boil. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.
Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, on medium heat, until again hot and steamy-do not boil. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the heated milk and coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, This might take as long as 10 minutes.
Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. Then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and finely ground coffee, and stir until cool. I left my grounds a little chunkier for taste and added texture.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
This recipe post includes 5 ingredients, one specific small, kitchen appliance and two, very special helpers. I recently went to visit my sister in Chicago as she welcomed darling baby number 3 to her beautiful family. I was treated to some very intense Midwestern thunderstorms over the weekend. Booming thunder, near blinding lightning and torrential down pour– I was loving it! A far cry from the California drizzle I get to experience very sporadically.
The kiddos were going stir crazy having to stay inside, so while my sister was occupied with the little one, I thought it would be fun to have them help me with a “special project”. My nephew Henry and niece Greta are very good at following directions so I knew Ice Cream would be the perfect, sweet reward.
Start with 5 ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 to 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean *slice bean lengthwise and scrape all seeds out for use.
Place whole milk in a bowl and add the sugar.
With a hand mixer, mix on low until sugar has dissolved into milk. About 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. The seeds are incredibly small but tend to clump together into masses, make sure to whisk to separate them so they incorporate evenly into the cream mixture.
Mix well, either with your tiny spatula or a hand mixer
Place freezer bowl onto the ice cream maker, insert mixing blade, cover and turn ON. Pour the mixture into the bowl as it’s running and wait…
Keep waiting about 35 minutes….you may want to find something else to do as a distraction.
In this case, the kiddos took a bath and got their jammies on. I’m their out of town Auntie so of course I thought it was fine they enjoy their homemade ice cream, while it’s raining cats & dogs outside and they are all clean, fresh out of the bath
*Recipe adapted from the Cuisinart Ice cream maker booklet. If you enjoy it immediately, like we did, it has about the same consistency as soft serve. I prefer it chilling for at least 3 hours or overnight, for a more dense consistency. You can also lighten this recipe by using low-fat milk in place of the whole milk. I also like to swap measurments in the above recipe, use 2 cups whole milk to 1 cup heavy cream.
I always look forward to Easter celebrations, mostly because of the food! (I always say I will decorate eggs and never do, so I am making every effort to do so this year) I will, however, be plenty busy in the kitchen making some sort of strata or quiche… and cake!
We were away last weekend celebrating a friend’s Wedding in the always breathtaking Big Sur, so I didn’t shoot a recipe. I am using some images I shot last year for a seasonal favorite: Carrot Cake. What I like most about the recipe is the “one bowl” sort of process. The majority of prep only uses one bowl, or just your food processor, which makes for easy clean-up. You can frost however you like, and I prefer to use a cream cheese frosting. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart.
Ingredients (for two 8 inch layers)
Butter, for pans
4 medium carrots
1 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 eight-by-two-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment; butter, and dust with flour. Grate carrots in food processor; measure 2 cups, and transfer to medium bowl. Add raisins, walnuts, applesauce, and lemon juice and zest to carrots.
Wipe food processor bowl; fit with blade. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice; pulse to mix. With motor running, pour in oil and eggs; process until smooth, scraping sides. Add carrot mixture; pulse. Pour into pans; bake about 40 minutes, until tester inserted in middle comes out clean.
Cool in pans on rack for 20 minutes. Remove; cool completely, right side up. *Note: 9 inch pans were used in photos; they work just fine but will result in thinner cake layers.
Cream Cheese frosting:
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Beat cream cheese, butter, and 1 cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until combined. With machine running, add remaining 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, and beat until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes more. Cream cheese frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature and beat before using.
The frosting can certainly stand on it’s own, but I added the slivered almonds for more texture.
I’ve had this particular recipe on my computer for quite a while and decided to give it a go; and boy, am I happy I did. I’ve seen many different Monster cookie recipes, all of which call for large amounts of butter, oats, sugar, chocolate, M&Ms & peanut butter, sometimes nuts or dried fruits…resulting in large, Monster-size cookies.
Thanks again to my sister for suggesting Hershey’s drops for this recipe, they were perfect. I think of them as a cross between a Hershey’s Kiss and an M&M – without the candy shell. I used the drops instead of chocolate chips + M&Ms called for in the recipe.
When my cookie scoop portions didn’t look Monster-size enough for me I switched to my ice cream scoop- yeah, my ice cream scoop!
My Monster Cookie recipe is adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis
5 3/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups creamy peanut butter (NOT the natural kind!)
2 cups Hershey’s Drops (roughly chop 1 cup, leave 1 cup whole)
In a large bowl, combine flour, soda, salt and oats. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter until smooth and pale. Beat in sugars until just incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla, corn syrup and peanut butter and mix until smooth. Stir in oat mixture in three additions, then fold in chocolate chips and candies. Refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop generously sized balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool.
Warning: these are very peanut buttery! I enjoy them most with icy cold milk, Rob thinks they are perfect with coffee.
I’ve decided to share some weekly recipes here, for your viewing and eating pleasure. I am very passionate about Baking, maybe even obsessed. With the continuing growth of our garden, I am becoming more and more fond of Cooking. Some recipes will be sweet, some savory, some breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks for in between. Some will, in fact, have meat; some will have dairy, some Vegan or Gluten Free. I am starting with Linzer Cookies you might have seen here and here.
I was recently inspired to set a goal for my baking in 2011. I heard of a blog where the girl set out to bake a different cake each month for a year. I’ve never found cookies as my strong suit so I thought I should practice . I wanted to increase the challenge and bake 2 cookie recipes each month. I started late, in February, and these cookies were one of the two recipes for that month. I have always wanted to make Linzer Heart cookies, but I acually find roll out dough, and cut-outs a bit daunting. These were not too difficult, and certainly worth the effort in the end.
The recipe is from my Williams-Sonoma Cookies book, I received as a gift from my dear friend Janet. Photos taken by me.
1 cup hazelnuts, or slivered almonds, toasted and skinned
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
About 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
In a food processor, finely grind the hazelnuts using short pulses. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until combined. Reduce the speed to low. Add the egg yolk, orange zest, vanilla and almond extract and beat until blended.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon and salt into another bowl. Add the ground hazelnuts and stir to blend. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed or stir with a wooden spoon until blended. The dough should be soft. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide into 4 equal portions and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
Remove 1 portion of the dough at a time from the refrigerator, place between 2 sheets of waxed paper and roll out 1⁄4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter about 2 1⁄2 inches in diameter, cut out the cookies. Using a 1 1⁄4-inch cutter, cut a hole in the center of half of the cookies. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough, then reroll the dough scraps as needed to make 24 cutouts total, cutting holes in half of them. If the dough becomes sticky, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes before rolling out.
Using a thin spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks. Loosen the cookies with the spatula, but leave the cookies on the sheets until thoroughly cooled.
To assemble, spread the solid cookies with a thin layer (about 1 tsp.) of raspberry jam to within about 1⁄4 inch of the edges. Dust the cutout cookies generously with confectioners’ sugar. Top the solid cookies with the cutout cookies.
*Keep in mind, these do not need to be reserved for Valentine’s Day, any cookie cutter shape will do. A star-shaped one perhaps with raspberry and grape jam would be festive for Fourth of July
I am no Oprah, but I do have a few favorite things too. Most of mine, however, are practical, edible and very affordable. One of them is Trader Joe’s Candy Cane JoJos!
They are only available this time of year and they are so worth the wait!
It started with a delicious Thanksgiving with our good friends. I enjoyed hours in the kitchen this weekend, and explored a variety of flavors. For Thanksgiving dinner I made Cranberry sauce, my Grammy’s Cranberry jello, a Cranberry Apple pie...
After a friend’s Birthday celebration on Saturday, we rounded out the weekend inside and around the house on Sunday. I treated Rob to my first go at Buttermilk Biscuits. They were delicious, but I am going to try again and go for more rise.
*photos of the process will be here shortly