Thursday, March 20, 2008

Home SWEET Home

While I didn't get to go to an exotic island for spring break, I did get to go home to San Fran and help my parents move into our newly remodeled house (with a new kitchen!). Needless to say, I spent much of my week playing in our new kitchen. I had been craving madeleines all semester, so I decided to bake some orange madeleines to break in the new Thermador oven. The orange zest is a refreshing take on the classic madeleine.

These madeleines give a hint of orange. If you want a more overwhelming orange flavor, you can add more zest and juice.

A Hint of Orange Madeleines Recipe (modified from


1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon minced orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
Note: If you make miniature madeleines, reduce the baking time to about 7-9 minutes.

First, melt the butter and allow it to cool while you make the batter.

In a small bowl place the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until well blended.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla extract, orange zest, and orange juice and beat to combine.

Sift a small amount of flour over the egg mixture and, using a large rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the beaten eggs to lighten it. Sift the rest of the flour over the egg mixture and fold in being sure not to overmix or the batter will deflate.

Whisk a small amount of the egg mixture into the melted butter to lighten it. Then fold in the cooled melted butter in three additions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or several hours, until slightly firm.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Generously butter two 12-mold madeleine pans. Dust the molds with flour and tap out the excess. (Could spray pans with Bakers Joy instead.) (Make sure the pans are well greased or the madeleines will stick and be hard to remove.)

Drop a generous tablespoonful of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center. (This will result in the classic "humped" appearance of the madeleines.)

Bake the madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes or (8 to 10 minutes in a convection oven), until the edges are golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched. Do not overbake these cookies or they will be dry.

Remove the pans from the oven and rap each pan sharply against a countertop to release the madeleines. Transfer the madeleines, smooth sides down, to wire racks to cool. The madeleines are best served the same day but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.

When serving dust with confectioners sugar.



Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Fever

For the past couple of weeks, I've had limes (leftover from another dish) sitting in my fridge and have been wracking my brain for what to do with them. I came across this recipe for Spring Lime Cookies, which seemed appropriate as spring is right around the corner. The cookies are incredibly moist and have a light, refreshing tangy sweetness to them. They would go perfectly with a warm cup of chamomile tea, on a rainy spring night.

Spring Time Lime Cookies
(adapted from

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 10 min.

  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine the 2 teaspoons of lime juice with the milk, let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the lime zest and milk mixture. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda, blend into the creamed mixture. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are light brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the glaze, stir together the remaining lime juice and sugar. Brush onto cooled cookies.
Notes: The cookies don't really become golden brown when they are baking, so make sure to check the bottoms so they won't get burnt. Also, I made smaller cookies, about the size of a ping pong ball, and those turned out much better than the bigger ones. I definitely would not skip on the glaze; it adds much more of a limey flavor.

Happy baking!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Cranberry Almond Biscotti and Hot Chocolate

There's nothing like a cup of Ghiradelli hot chocolate and biscotti (especially on a brisk wintery night while studying for a midterm). I am not much of a coffee person and prefer to get my caffeine fix in the form of cocoa. However, these biscotti would be a perfect match for your morning coffee as well.

Here's the recipe for the Cranberry Almond Biscotti (adapted from the Food Network):

Holdiay Biscotti
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped (I substituted whole almonds, that I coarsely crushed)
2/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.



Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gimme Gimme S'more

These may look rough but that's because all the ingredients are hidden inside!
It may seem like I'm obsessed with baking in mini muffin pans, and I am. Everything is better bite-sized! This week I did a take on s'mores cookie bars from Baking Bites. It has all the best ingredients of s'mores - graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. With a tall, cold glass of milk these are so delicious you'll want to curl up and sleep in one. Make sure to use marshmallow cream or fluff, as melted marshmallows will not bake well.

Hint: VERY SWEET! I would definitely suggest adding less sugar to the graham base as the marshmallow fluff and chocolate make it sweet enough. We also changed the amount of graham from 3/4 cup to 1 1/4 cups, and used 1/3 cup less flour.

original recipe:

S’More Cookie Bites
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an baking pan (square or mini muffins)
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

With a small spoon scoop mix into the bottom of cups until 1/2 full. Break each piece of chocolate in half and push into each cup. If using a square brownie pan place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick.
Spoon marshmallow fluff over chocolate. To make the fluff stay down, spray a knife with oil and use to flatten out the marshmallow.
Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff. This is most easily done by rolling out remaining dough 1/2 inch thick and cutting to the shape you need. We found cutting out rounds with a shot glass fit perfectly on the mini muffins.

If using mini muffin pans, bake for 15-20 minutes. If using a brownie pan, bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Let cool before removing from pan.