Monday, April 15, 2013


Prior to making these this past weekend, I have eaten Madeleines only once.  There is a cute, little, serious restaurant in town here that bakes them up to order in the mornings.  A year ago, I went there with the sole purpose of ordering those Madeleines.  I remember them being deliciously fresh baked but underwhelming treats.    The same goes for this home-baked version.  They worked, they were fresh, but I could take them or leave them.

This was my second go at a genoise batter.  My first was a disaster (French Strawberry Cake) so I was a bit intimidated to try it again.  But I DO have my new mixer and I was certain to cool my melted butter down this time.  It all worked.  The basic genoise pattern goes like this.

Sift the dry, sifted stuff (flour, salt, some sugar).

Whip the eggs and yolks with the sugar until they are tripled in volume.

Gently fold in the dry ingredients in 3 sessions.

Then incorporate melted butter by first mellowing it with some of the already-mixed batter before fully incorporating it.

Then it is ready.

For this recipe it was ready to be filled into the Madeleine plaques and chilled overnight.  Now, according to the recipe book, this was supposed to be baked right away, but listening to some of our expert Madeleine bakers in the group, chilling the batter is the only way to get the characteristic puffed shell shape, so I chilled it.  I also prepped my Madeleine plaque with two coats of melted butter, instead of butter and flour for the same reason.   Like I said, it all worked.  I had beautiful, puffed Madeleines that released easily from their pan.

I truly wished I liked them more.  They would be a terrific tea party cake (when do I ever have tea parties?).  Thank goodness I borrowed the Madeleine plaque from a friend, because I am not sure when I would use it next.

For the full recipe and other Baking with Julia bloggers' experiences, see Katie and Amy of Counter Dog and Tuesdays with Dorie respectively.

And Rhiannon:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rustic Potato Loaves

I just barely made this one.  We just had spring break; we had company; we traveled; and I honestly thought I had another week to do this recipe.   This may explain the dearth of pictures.  I was just getting it done, no extras.  I forgot photos completely until I was about to cut the bread for dinner.

But I am so thankful I eked it out.  This bread was surprisingly wonderful to eat.  The texture was so chewy and the flavor from the potatoes gave it depth not normally found in white bread.  And it wasn't difficult, although it's artisan looks belie this.  It did take some time: boiling potatoes, cooling/ drying them, two rises and 40-45 minutes in the oven.  (The book claims this recipe can be done on a whim, last-minute-like (maybe).)

My new mixer is definitely getting a work out between this and pizza dough and cupcakes and such; it is well broken in already.  But I am still keeping my grandma's mixer for now; I can't let go of it yet. 

For the full recipe and excellent pictures, see our host, Dawn,  at Simply Sweet.

And here is Rhiannon... I think she's eating... or maybe feeding her toes?