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Lemon Madeleines via Relishing It

Pretty much every weekend we have a family debate about what to do in the morning.  My husband argues that we should just enjoy our coffee at home so he can finish watching the soccer match.  The little ones respond that we should stay indoors so they can play all morning.  But I always push for getting out to one of our fabulous local bakeries.  And no offense to American-style bakeries, with their cupcakes and jelly doughnuts, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.  I love French-style bakeries.  I love their delicate pastries that are so flakey they almost fall apart when you look at them.  Two bakeries here in the Twin Cities really stand out– Rustica and Patisserie 46.   I love the vibe at both of these beautiful venues.  They’re always buzzing, and once you’ve picked that perfect pastry from their huge selections, it’s wonderful to just sit back and take it all in.  On those weekends that I lose “the great morning debate,” I often make French treats at home.  These bostock are one of my favorites.  Another are these wonderful lemon madeleines.  They’re little bites of happiness.

Lemon Madeleines via Relishing It

Making these madeleines are as simple as can be.  The only thing to be aware of is that you should let the batter rest for a few hours before you bake them (and truth be told, sometimes I don’t wait as long as I’m supposed to and they still turn out fine).  This version is a beautiful lemon laced with a bit of vanilla.  Simple and basic are often the best.  If you can get you hands on Meyer lemons, use them instead of regular– they make a difference.  Sometimes, when I want to change things up, I make a spiced orange and honey version.  Use your imagination, so long as you keep the key ingredients the same.  The main difference in my homemade version is that I use white whole wheat flour.  While they’re not quite as light as those made with all-purpose flour, I think I actually prefer them this way.  The texture is about midway between a cookie and cake.  I guess what I mean is that the inside is soft and moist, while the edges are crisp.  And while you can save some for later, they’re best eaten on the day they’re made.  They’re so good, that they won’t be around more than a day anyway.

If you’re looking for other receipes to satisfy your lemon cravings, take a look these desserts.  This lemon yogurt cake remains one of my favorites, as do these luscious lemon bars.  This lemon pull-apart bread is nice to make for company.  And this lemon tart is perfect for a special occasion.  Can you tell I often have those cravings?  Anyway, these lemon madeleines fit nicely into this list.

Lemon Madeleines via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Lemon Madeleines

(makes 12 large madeleines)

2/3 cup white whole wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

zest of two smallish lemons (meyer lemons work wonderfully)

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled)

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Prepare a 12-mold madeleine pan by spraying with cooking spray or rubbing with butter.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer,  mix the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers until well combined.  Add the eggs to the bowl and beat, using the whisk attachment, for about 2 minutes, or until the batter is light colored, fluffy, and thick.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Then fold in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula, followed by the melted butter.  Divide the batter evenly among the 12 madeleine molds and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerated for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight.

When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 400°F.  Remove plastic wrap and bake madeleines for 11-13 minutes, or until they are a deep golden brown.  Remove from pan and place on cooling racks.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.  These are best enjoyed on the day they are made, though they will keep in a sealed container (the edges will loose their crispiness, however).  Enjoy!

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I know mine will include some green beer.

Cheers!

Laurie

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I bought a new pan– a mini-bundt pan, and I love it.  I’ve recently found myself coming up with excuses to bake more, just so I can see those tiny, adorable cakes.  As my husband has mentioned (after listening to me justify making another little bundt-shaped treat) , the line between a hobby and mental illness can be a thin one.  Who cares when the results are fabulous?  I love these orange and vanilla-scented bundt cakes.  They’re incredibly flavorful, and just small enough to justify eating more than one.

For this recipe, do not cheat and use anything other than freshly-squeezed orange juice.  Trust me, you won’t get the concentrated flavor that these cakes can deserve from a bottle or from a frozen can.  I love it when a cake recipe delivers a potent, layered, flavor.  Here, the orange zest in the cake batter is the first wonderful layer.  Next, there’s the glaze with its freshly-squeezed orange juice that also moistens the cake.  Finally, there’s the fantastic icing.  These three layers really combine for a powerful citrus punch.  Here’s the thing though, the cake flavors aren’t limited solely to orange citrus.  This cake also offers strong vanilla notes.  If you’ve baked with vanilla beans before, you know that they are not subtle.  They give you big flavor.  Together, the vanilla and orange citrus pair beautifully in this cake–or cakes, if you want to break out the mini-bundt pan.

The Recipe: Orange and Vanilla Scented Bundt Cake

( Makes 1 bundt cake or 26 mini-bundt cakes)

Cake

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise  (2 teaspoons vanilla can be substituted, if in a pinch)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 large eggs

2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2/3 cup buttermilk  (To make your own buttermilk — 2/3 cup regular milk with 2 teaspoons white vinegar mixed in.     Let sit for 10 minutes).

Glaze

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

Icing

2/3 cup powdered sugar

4 teaspoons (roughly) freshly squeezed orange juice

For the Cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350° F.  Butter and flour 12-15 cup Bundt pan.  Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat sugar and orange peel in large bowl at low speed to release essential oils from peel.  Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into sugar mixture and beat to blend well.  Add butter and beat until light.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in orange juice (mixture will look curdled).  Stir in flour mixture, then buttermilk.  Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top.  Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  (Note: if using mini bundt pans — fill them 3/4 full and bake between 12-15 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.)

For the Glaze:

Meanwhile, boil orange juice, sugar, and butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes ( less for mini-bundts).  Using small sharp knife, cut around the sides and center tube of pan to loosen cake.  Turn cake out onto rack and brush with glaze.  Cool completely.

For the icing:

Place sugar in small bowl.  Mix in orange juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until thick pourable consistency forms.  Drizzle icing over cake.  Let stand until icing sets.  (Note: I felt there wasn’t enough icing to top all of the mini-bundts, so I double the icing ingredients.  The recipe already reflects the change). Enjoy with a relaxing cup of coffee or tea.

Source: Bon Appetit Desserts

I hope you all enjoy this cake as much as we did!  Have a great day and see you soon!

Laurie




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