Oui! French Escape Madeleines

Let’s go to the 18th century when baking in molds began. Oh wait…let’s read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and dip our petit madeleines in our London Fog (bergamot tea, foamed almond milk with vanilla syrup) & selectively remember why we just know that now & then cake comforts us. Enjoy your sweet life!
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3/4 t vanilla 1/2 t almond extract or vice versa depending on your taste or traditional = 3/4 t vanilla 1 T lemon zest
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter melted set aside to cool + 2 T butter melted to oil tin
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/4 t salt (or less)
  • 1/2 t baking powder

Tendre, s’il vous plaît. Whisk flour, salt & baking powder in small bowl. In mixer with wire whip, beat eggs & sugar 6-8 minutes until light & thick. Add flavorings. Fold in flour mixture, gently. Take 1/4 c of the batter & mix with the 1/2 c melted butter until the butter is incorporated. Then thoroughly fold this butter batter into the egg, sugar, flour batter, gently. Cover & refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile oil molds VERY WELL. EVEN if you have non stick molds, oil them well. The butter helps the petit cakes brown too. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Organize your tea ingredients: Begamot (Earl Grey) Tea, almond or milk of choice, vanilla or vanilla syrup, sugar. Make your tea while your cakes bake.

Place 1 tablespoon of batter in the center of each of 22* VERY WELL oiled 3″ x 1.75″ mold. Bake 10 to 14 minutes. (Ovens and atmospheres vary.) They are done when the edges are just brown. You can test with your finger by pressing gently. If it’s done it’ll resist a bit & spring back. Remove from oven. Wait 1 minute (no longer) & with a table knife coax your madeleines onto a wire rack to cool. (OR DON’T WAIT – I like one warm from the oven.) Store in air tight container or freeze.

Eat within a few minutes. (Did I say that?) I meant days. (I am a glutton for anything French or cake like or filled with glorious memories.) I am pretty sure the benefits of bergamot & black tea totally counteract the sugar sins.

Some folks like them sprinkled with (more) sugar. I like mine naked with Earl Grey tea. ENJOY!

*The shells in my tin are about 3″ x 1-3/4″. There are 24 shells but this batter made 22 perfectly. (Rumor has it you can use real bivalve shells.)

OH! HO HO HO Clothespin Cookies

Some family traditions are worth the sugar rush.
Clothespin Cookies – Use the old fashioned kind of clothespins.
Easy to make dough. Swirl onto greased pins.
These are ready for a roll in the sugars.

THE RECIPE

COOKIE DOUGH

  • 2 1/2 t dry yeast
  • 1/2 c milk, heat to 115
  • 4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • Decorating sugars 

Dissolve yeast in milk and set aside. Mix sugar and salt into flour. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Mix eggs and yeast/milk mixture together. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yeast/milk/egg mixture. Mix well and knead a few times. Wrap in wax paper and a damp tea towel and refrigerate overnight.

Grease about 50 clothespins with vegetable shortening. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 300º F. 

Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface roll each half into an 8″ wide X 20″ long rectangle. Dough will be about 1/8″ thick. Cut off rough side edges and set aside to roll again later. Cut rectangle in to 3/4″ strips and roll onto clothespin with floured side on the clothespin, overlapping edges. Do not wrap to “shoulder” of the clothespin as removal is difficult. Set rolled curls aside to warm a bit as this helps decorative sugars to adhere a bit better. Prepare all cookies.

Gently roll cookies in sugars. Roll with the swirl so you don’t uncurl the cookie. Place seam side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Double pan and bake 30 minutes until just golden on the bottoms. You can prepare filling while cookies bake.

Cool on wire racks for a few minutes and gently remove each cookie from the clothespin. Eat one. Let the rest cool to room temperature.

FILLING

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup salted or unsalted butter divided in two
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (Penzy’s double strength)
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Heat sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan just until butter melts. Place in mixer bowl. Add milk and vanilla. Beat at high speed until mixture combines, about 10 minutes. It will look curdled at first. Add whipping cream and continue to beat at high speed. Add 1/2 cup butter a small piece at a time until the mixture becomes a fluffy frosting. This filling is a bit fussy to make but worth it for the taste. You could opt for your favorite Italian or French buttercream or stabilized whipped cream.

Fill the curls. Immediately eat them. Refrigerate or freeze those that aren’t eaten within an hour of filling. Refrigerate for up to ten days. They freeze for months – which makes the sugar rush last longer.

Merry Christmas and EVERY other holiday that happens this time of year!