Thank you for those who were concerned about my late post and bad weekend. A series of stressful things, including my friend’s funeral, made this a bad weekend. There WERE some good things too. My son’s commencement on Friday night. My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last week. But I think my stress circuit breaker flipped on Monday and I’m kind of out-of-energy this week. Next week we’re going out for a few days of bird watching. Hopefully I will lose some of this residual anxiety.
This week’s recipe, for Madelines, was chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home. An alternative was also offered for people who didn’t have a Madeline pan. They could make a recipe that had already been made for Tuesday’s with Dorie.
I set out to make Madeline’s. I bought a non-stick pan at Williams-Sonoma on Thursday and was going to make the cookies on Friday and take them to my friend’s funeral on Saturday. Once I sat down with the recipe, however, I saw there were some problems with my plan. The recipe only made 12 cookies and they’re best eaten on the day they’re made. Once I saw the batter needed to be chilled I knew I could make the batter and bake the cookies late Saturday morning. But it still only made 12 and I wasn’t in the mood to double the recipe, which doesn’t always work in baking. So I started paging through the bars and cookies to see if I could make something else to bring that would be easy and good. I have wanted to make the snickery squares since I bought the cookbook, and they looked easy, so I made those too. One recipe used my mixer and one used my food processor, so that worked too.
First I made my Madeline batter and put that in the fridge to chill. Then I made the shortbread base for the snickery squares. Then a trip back to the store for dulce de leche. Then off to commencement. Then back home to make the peanuts. I carmelized the peanuts just until the sugar started to give off some smoke, then quickly moved them to the Silpat. Once they cooled, I finished assembling the bars. Then off to bed.
I baked the Madeline’s late Saturday morning. I think I baked them too long because they tasted dry to me. Another baker brought up the point that the non-stick pan is dark and maybe the temp should have been lowered. If I make these again, I may try that. I’m on a raspberry kick, so I made some raspberry glaze for the Madelines.
I didn’t get a very good photo of the snickery squares but they won hands down as our favorite for the weekend.
I won’t be blogging next week. So see you in two weeks.
Source: Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines. (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)
GETTING READY TO BAKE:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan (or pans), give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don’t worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven’s heat will take care of that. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.
If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pan(s) before baking.
Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioners’ sugar.
Makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies
Serving: Serve the cookies when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature, with tea or espresso.
Storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If you must store them, wrap them airtight and freeze them; they’ll keep for up to 2 months.
Source: Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick (113 gr) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
For the Filling:
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp water
1 ½ cups salted peanuts
About 1 ½ cups store-bought dulce de leche
For the Topping:
7 ounces (200 gr) bittersweet, coarsely chopped
½ stick (57 gr) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 8 inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.
To Make the Crust:
Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.
To Make the Filling:
Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.
Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet, using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature.
When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.
Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.
To Make the Topping:
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.
Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.
Cut into 16-24 bars.