I told my mom that I'd bake something for her to take to work on one of those "bring food from your culture" days. I didn't try to bake anything from any particular culture, but instead was really excited to try out David Lebovitz's recipe for pineapple coconut cookies (which are basically macaroons). I adore David's food blog yet had never tried out one of his recipes. This one was from Ripe for Dessert. You heat the pineapple in a frying pan (something I've never done for cookies or anything else) until all the liquid evaporates, then add it to dried coconut flakes, sugar, vanilla and egg whites. I realized just now as I was writing this post why these cookies/macaroons totally didn't turn out - I forgot to add the sugar! Looking back over the recipe I now see that sugar is listed in the ingredients but not in the written instructions. The mystery of the disastrous cookies has been solved! I couldn't understand how the amazing David could have a recipe that disappointed. They were impossible to form into balls and tasted very weird without the sugar so I ended up throwing them all away. So you're welcome, for telling you what will happen if you forget to add sugar to your macaroons. I must try making these again because I love the use of pineapple in the cookies.
Anyway, I couldn't give my mom these cookies to take to work, so I quickly made up a batch of honey earl grey madeleines. Madeleines are basically little cakes, though for some reason some people call them cookies. When my friend and I first made madeleines we tried out a few different recipes to see which one was best. This was my original favourite, using a honey madeleine recipe and adding earl grey (an idea I got from Chez Pim if I remember correctly). I love bergamot and I love tea so adding earl grey to things (like shortbread, which I will post about soon) always makes me happy. I've also tried white chocolate, white chocolate blueberry, chocolate, lemon, and chocolate coconut madeleines. It's really easy to modify the recipe to add in whatever flavour you love most.
You can see by the tunnels that I mixed the batter too zealously this time.
Madeleines seem to have become my fall back baked treat. It's best if you refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes before baking them, which is the most annoying part about making them. Well it's only annoying if you wanted to bake them right away and then realized you have to wait. (One recipe has you refrigerate it for three hours - how can one wait that long!) But they're still easy to put together and quick to bake. If you don't put the batter in the fridge first, they'll still taste good but probably won't have the nice crown/hump. One very positive thing about madeleines is that you don't need to remember to take the butter out of the fridge beforehand (which I often forget) since you melt the butter. You need a madeleine tin to make these (they also have mini madeleine tins if that's your thing). And oh my, I didn't know they had silicone madeleine pans! You have to grease madeleine tins really well because of all the grooves, so a silicone pan would be especially appreciated. Madeleines are best when they're warm fresh out of the oven when they're a little bit crisp around the edges, in my opinion anyway.
Honey Earl Grey Madeleines
(adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus melted butter for molds
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon earl grey, finely ground (can be from a tea bag)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon packed light-brown sugar
1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, being sure to not let the butter brown. Remove from heat, and stir in honey, vanilla extract and earl grey tea. Let stand until room temperature. In a small bowl, whisk together, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula mix the eggs and sugars until combined. Fold in flour mixture, until just combined. Add the cooled butter mixture, and continue to fold until combined. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in center. Brush madeleine molds with melted butter; set aside.
4. Fill each mold three-quarters full, using spoons, a pastry bag or an ice cream scoop. Do not overfill the molds. Bake until puffed, and the edges are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack until pan is just cool enough to handle. Invert onto wire rack and serve warm, if possible.