Mini Vanilla French Madeleines

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A new cookbook is rocking the food world right now, written by the women behind The Cook’s Atelier in Beaune, Burgundy (France)! After perusing this gorgeous gastronome tome, I quickly found their Instagram and found myself signing up for their newsletter.

One week later, voilà! A newsletter + recipe for mini madeleines pop into my inbox. The recipe is savory, but I was in a pinch, didn’t have the necessary parmesan, and wanted to try out my new mini pans ASAP. I made my go-to recipe for regular madeleines, found ing—you guessed it—Patisserie Made Simple.

I’m planning on trying out the savory recipe soon (it features chives and parm, yum!), but for now, here’s the recipe for plain madeleines that I love. Bonus to minis? Pop-able like potato chips! May be a minus, depending on how you look at it.

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Mini madeline molds are only 1 to 1.5 inches wide…not much space! I found it easiest to scoop the batter into a plastic bag or piping bag and pipe the batter into the molds. You don’t need much! A teaspoon or less per cavity should do it.

Happy baking, friends! And if you make a different flavor, let me know! Looking for inspiration 🙂

xxx


Mini Madeleines

Recipe can be found in Patisserie Made Simple. Also check out The Boy Who Bakes: blog and Insta! I love Ed 🙂

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French Sablé Cookies

I was first introduced to the sablé by Dorie Greenspan. They appeared in one of her books…which one, I can’t remember. But I do remember that they were easy. And involved a lot of butter. Sablés were the base for Millionaire’s Shortbread, a glorified, homemade twix bar. Caramel, chocolate, and crumbly cookie? It looked very divine.

If I have made sablés, it’s been a while and I have no recollection. So while rifting through my current favorite cookbook of the moment, Patisserie Made Simple, I found a recipe and decided to give it a go. My decision was helped immensely by a photo I saw of a chocolate chip sablé. I still have dough left over and I’ll be studding it with Guittard chocolate chips!

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Sablé dough is very crumbly, but fear not! You just have to work it a bit and it really helps if you roll out the log in some plastic wrap or—in a less ideal situation, like mine—foil. It helps keep everything together and in a somewhat uniform shape. I think Dorie Greenspan recommends using a paper towel tube.

Have fun with this! Add-ins optional and a great way to get creative. Someone mentioned she was going to do a cinnamon version! Dark chocolate; sprinkles or turbinado sugar for the edges; citrus…if you make something wild, let me know! I’d love to add it to my notes.


Recipe (from Patisserie Made Simple by Edd Kimber) [40~ cookies]

2 tsp vanilla extract

1.75 (200g) sticks butter, room temp

heaping 0.75 cup (175g) sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 egg yolks

scant 3 cups (400g) flour

turbinado sugar (or whatever you please) for the edges

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Beat butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy and pale. Add egg yolks and beat again until nicely whipped. Dump the flower in, all at once, and mix on low speed or pulse. The dough should be very crumbly—you don’t want to mix it into a cohesive ball. Use your hands for that and dump it onto plastic wrap. Shape it roughly into a log and wrap it up, elongating and rolling as you go. The log should have a 1.5” diameter (or however big/small you want it to be).

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. It should be firm.

Preheat the oven to 325˚F and put parchment on two baking sheets. Roll logs in sugar or your topping of choice. Slice just under an inch thick and place on baking sheet—they don’t expand nor spread, so you can make them cozy. Bake, 20-25 minutes until lightly browned on edges. They should look kind of pale.

Cool for 10 minutes, and then eat them warm (what I would do) or cool completely.

Happy baking!!

xxx

Brioche Pain aux Chocolat

If I were the expert on all things pastry (which I definitely and not), bread would be the ultimate MVP. You can do so much with it, sweet and savory. Pain aux chocolat is an excellent example. I made one batch of brioche, but two desserts- the brioche creams and these. You could also noodle cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, brioche nature, and a ton of other stuff out of one recipe.

Winner in my book!

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Traditionally, pain aux chocolat is made with chocolate batons—literally sticks of chocolate. Alas, I had none, but I did have some Guittard dark chocolate chips, which I’d say worked just as well, as my picky brother scarfed a bun down.

Again, this is Huck’s brioche recipe, but use whichever one you please. I’ve simply found that after testing out a few recipes, this one gives me the texture I’m looking for. It’s soft and airy; light and feathery; other brioche recipes I’ve tried have been a bit dry. France also had its share of dry brioche. I went to a market in Arles where they were selling pain aux chocolat, 3 euros for 10. And gosh golly, it was DRY. I did not finish it.

As for the chocolate, batons are tradition, but chocolate chips are fine if that’s what you have. Dark, milk, in-between; it’s up to you.

Notes

  • As you can tell, I didn’t egg wash these, either. I highly recommend that you do. Glossy buns are just more fun—and definitely prettier!

Happy baking!!

xxx

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Brioche Cream Buns

If you’ve known me for any length of time, there’s a good chance you know that I love Flour Bakery + Cafe, a Boston staple.

In high school, I was introduced to Flour via Joanne Chang’s (the owner) first book: Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe. It was monumental. This book taught me how to make bread; provided one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes; offers the best muffin recipe of all-time (better than Huckleberry?!); and is downright comforting with un intimidating recipes.

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One of my favorite pastries at Flour is a brioche cream bun. Brioche, pastry cream, baked in the oven? It’s a soft, feathery bread with a custardy center.

Honestly, I actually greatly prefer Huckleberry’s brioche. Some brioches are drier than others, and Flour’s is a bit more so than Huck’s. To make my brioche cream pots, I used Huck’s recipe for brioche and Edd Kimber’s (AKA The Boy Who Bakes) pastry cream recipe, but you can find recipes for both in the Flour book. The pastry cream recipe is easy and good.

Some notes:

  • Don’t forget to egg-wash the bread. It’ll make it glossy and beautiful. As you can see, I forgot.
  • You can make any flavor pastry cream. I did cookie butter! But vanilla, chocolate, fruit, matcha, floral…up to you!

Happy baking!

xxx

Rose Meringues (On Perseverance)

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Pot after pot after pot yielded little more than one more frustrated sigh than the last. Pan after pan held lackluster, pale shells that were dry at best and at worst, extremely doughy. Slowly defeat overcame me, and I accepted that the glorious speculoos éclairs I had envisioned hours earlier were not going to be realized today.

Looking at the egg whites I had amassed from several recipes, including the many batches of failed éclairs, I settled on making meringues the following weekend. But I couldn’t help but appreciate the fiasco, as frustrating as it was.

Baking teaches you a lot of things.

To be organized, to mise en place.

To manage your time, for beautiful bread.

To set goals, to learn.

To see the big picture and small details.

To appreciate the work, so you can have beauty.

Baking teaches perseverance, and it’s a very cheap lesson. For a few cups of flour and sticks of butter, I learned to try again. I learned to look at what went wrong; to observe the details; to adapt. I learned to focus on the result I wanted, and not give up because the first try was a failure.

Life is kind of like baking. You’ll want to be organized and have a goal in mind. But when the bread falls flat or the éclairs are too doughy, you don’t want to give up. You want to learn from your errors, adjust the strategy. You want to see what the final product could be. And you have to commit to trying again. And again, and again.

Whatever you’re working on right now—if it’s going great, that is fantastic. But if you’re struggling, don’t give up! This bread is flat, but your next one can rise. You only need to choose to get up. Be encouraged!


For the meringues

I based mine on a recipe in Pâtisserie Made Simple (Edd Kimber) and added rose water for flavoring. Floral notes always win me over with their delicate, heady punch. One to two teaspoons of rose water should do it, otherwise it’s like eating soap.

Berry Pavlova

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I have spent the last two weeks as my mother’s main office minion, and therefore forwent Monday’s blog post. I beg forgiveness.

So, when I actually rummaged around the fridge, wondering what I should make, I remembered that I had too many egg whites in a Plentea bottle, nearly forgotten from the time I had made Audrey’s chocolate cake and used 16 egg yolks. Not all of the whites survived because there were some broken yolks, but by the time I was finished experimenting I still had around 6-8. They remained hidden in the fridge until I remembered them, which is actually ok because old egg whites will whip up better.

I passed sophomore year under the tutelage of Fred, baking-boy extraordinaire, and picked up a thing or two hanging around him whilst he created his edible masterpieces. Mostly how to be creative and fun in the kitchen. So, this normally plain-Jane whipped out all the stops, as in, this project took me three days to complete. And, there’s rose water involved, just for kicks.

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First, we’re going to make the meringue. Egg whites and sugar are whisked in a double boiler to pasteurize the eggs. This is swiss-style meringue. Italian meringue is made by pouring boiling sugar syrup into egg whites whilst simultaneously whipping them at high speed. I feel that swiss meringue is a bit safer. Everything is cooked, and then whipped. No splattering 300-degree syrup. Using a piping tip and bag, create meringue bowls. The size is up to you.

This recipe could easily be made in one afternoon. While the meringues are crisping in the oven, start on the coulis. Coulis is a plant sauce; fruit is usually used for dessert, vegetables for savory dishes. Our farmer friends sent us strawberries, and as the fruit was looking overly ripe, I decided to make strawberry coulis, but any berry will do. If you want the coulis to set a bit, add some gelatin, or agar agar if you prefer.

Finally, whip the cream—by hand if you’re brave—and add a teaspoon of rose water. Don’t be tempted to pour in more; rose water is, while floral and heady, exactly that. Too much, and it’ll probably smell like rotting roses. Yuck.

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By this time the meringues should be high and dry. Try one. They are…ephemeral. Shatter the delicate shell, and it melts daintily in your mouth.

Choose a fun, swirly tip and transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag. Pipe generous swirls into the meringue bowls, topping with coulis and raspberries for decoration. Have some friends on had to help you eat the pavlova; I spent my afternoon frantically looking for takers. Cousin Ben will be saving the day.

Berry Pavlova

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1 batch meringue

I based mine off of The Boy Who Bakes, doubling the proportions. You’ll have enough for little meringue cookies, too. Cut in half if you wish.

6 room-temperature egg whites (BUT! Always separate a cold egg to prevent the yolk from breaking)

Scant 2.5 (480g) cups sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 225˚F. It is important that the temperature is precise! Meringue is very delicate and finicky.
  2. Using a hand or standing mixer, whip egg whites on high speed. When soft peaks begin to form, gradually add the sugar and whip until glossy and stiff. If you can hold the bowl over your head without dumping meringue on yourself, it’s ready.
  3. Using a piping bag and tip, pipe the meringue onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The bowls should be approximately 3” wide. Start piping from the center of the circle, making your way outwards, and then slowly build up on the last ring, creating a wall approximately 2” high, or whatever you prefer.
  4. Bake for 1-2 hours, allowing the meringues to crisp, and then turn off the oven and let the meringues sit in the oven, allowing them to completely dry out.

Fruit Coulis

350g berries

0.25 cup water

3 tbsp sugar, or to taste

up to 0.25 tsp gelatin, to set

  1. In a saucepan, heat berries, water, and sugar until fruit becomes extremely soft. Gently mash with a spoon, breaking up the fruit. All the liquid to cook down; it should have the viscosity of smoothie.
  2. Pour the coulis through a sieve to remove seeds and skin. Allow to cool. Store in the fridge.

Whipped Cream

2 cups very cold heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon rose water

sifted powdered sugar to taste (optional, and I’d just go by the tablespoon)

  1. Using a standing mixer, hand mixer, or your actual hand/arm, whip cream and rose water until soft peaks form. Begin adding sugar, a tablespoon at a time, tasting along the way. Stop whipping when stiff peaks form. Go too far, and you’ll have rose-water butter.

 

Assembly

  1. Place whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice. I used an Ateco 807.
  2. Pipe generous swirls of whipped cream into the meringue bowls. Drizzle with coulis and top with raspberries.
  3. Serve immediately, or, if you must, store in the fridge for a few hours.

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Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake & Coconut-Lime Sorbet

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This summer I have eaten many life-changing foods. Lamb chops, panna cotta, olive oil and balsamic, coconut lime sorbet… I must say, working in a cooking store really does open your eyes to all the food possibilities.

On the weekends, sometimes we’ll do a demo, and one of these weekends happened to be an ice cream demo! Can I get a HOORAY! ? And, as the title of this post suggests, the demo involved coconut lime sorbet. At first, I was skeptical. You would not be surprised to know that my favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla. Plane Jane, and I like it that way. But, as I am wont to do when I am in charge of a demo, I tasted it.

The bright, tart, citrus of the lime beautifully complimented (and was also mellowed by) the subtle, light, sweet coconut milk. The pairing worked, and I was surprised. Usually, if I want to be “adventurous,” I go for a fruit sorbet or chocolate ice cream. No toppings, no mix ins, and of course, no funky flavors. Ever. But, gosh darn, one taste of this sorbet and I was hooked! It took an obscene amount of self control to not eat all the samples. I feel like I should receive a medal or something for restraining myself.

A couple days later, I made Padre buy me some limes at the grocery store, and off I went to re-create the recipe. I used a little more cream than I ought to have, so it’s not essentially a sorbet, more like an ice cream.

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What I discovered was that the cream really mellows out the lime, which I did not like. The recipe I present now cuts the amount of cream in half. But really, the cream is just there to help with the texture, not the flavor. Coconut milk and lime juice alone make for somewhat of an icy texture, so the cream smooths it out. At most, you should only require a fourth of a cup.

As far as the olive oil cake is concerned, about a year or two ago I was pursing Food52 and stumbled across a recipe for Maialino NYC’s olive oil cake. It was one of the site’s most popular recipes, next to the one for chocolate cake, which remains my go-to recipe, despite the number of blogs that I read the number of cookbooks I have amassed. The olive oil cake has been on my “to make” list for a while, and after being introduced to some mighty fine olive oils at the cooking store, I took the plunge, bought a bottle, and whipped up (in one bowl, no less), this cake.

If you do not like the taste of olive oil, you’d be better off with the sorbet alone, although you needn’t be a connoisseur to appreciate the cake. Savor the light fruitiness of the oil, and tight, soft crumb, and the delicate crust. Food52 describes the cake as almost pudding-like, and they’re about right. Try it, even if you feel skeptical. And if you do like it, don’t be Padre, who cut himself a hunk and crammed it in his mouth. That is not the proper way to enjoy such a dainty, delicate dessert.

Paired together, the cake and sorbet make a good match. I would, however, highly recommend adding the lime zest to the sorbet (I skipped this to save myself from washing another utensil) and scaling back on the cream. The coconut milk and olive oil combined really can overpower the lime. I admit, the strength of the olive oil and its ability to mask other flavors surprised me, as it is generally unassuming if you aren’t looking for it.

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Here is the cake recipe. Instead of 1.25 cups of milk, you could substitute for 1 cup of creme fraîche. I did this because that is what I had on hand.

Coconut-Lime Sorbet

2.5 cups coconut milk

0.5 cup cream

0.25 cups lime juice

2 tbsp lime zest

1 cup sugar

  1. Make sure to freeze the ice cream bowl the night before, per manufacture’s instructions.
  2. Zest limes and place in a large bowl. Microwave limes in 10-second increments until slightly warm. Using the palm of your hand, roll limes on a hard surface to release the juice. Juice the limes and add juice to the bowl.
  3. Add cream, coconut milk, and sugar. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze per manufacture’s instructions. Approximately 20-30 minutes.
  4. Eat or freeze immediately.