December 27, 2011

Honey Madeleines

Guess who got a madeleine pan for Christmas! I'm too legit to quit, so I thought I would re-post this recipe for you. If you don't have a fancy pan, just use a cupcake pan. They will taste just as good...
Madeleines from a cupcake pan.
I tried my first madeleine while working at a coffee shop in college. They looked sorta plain, but once I took a bite and the buttery, vanilla cake-iness melted in my mouth, I was a convert. There is something about the slightly dense fluffiness of the crumb that I love. Friends at another cafe made me try madeleines topped with whipped cream, which I highly recommend--if you don't mind an approximately 1,000 calorie snack.

I don't make a habit of eating madeleines all the time, mind you. But, ever since I saw a recipe for them in Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook, I've been itching to make them. Of course, you need a special madeleine pan to make madeleines, so I've been eying those madeleine molds enviously every time I enter a cooking store fancy enough to carry them. It just seemed a little beyond my budget to fork out major dough for something that would be used on such a limited basis. Still, I couldn't help day dreaming a bit when I came across one.

Recently, I cut out a madeleine recipe from Bon Appetit that called for lavender honey. I don't have fancy honey and I don't have a fancy pan, but I decided to make them anyway. I figured a cupcake pan was similar enough that it just might work...

And, lo and behold--they turned out just fine, minus the pretty fluting and scalloped shape that typically defines a madeleine. But, you know what, they taste damn good regardless. Now, where's the whipped cream...

Honey Madeleines
Authentic madeleine shape. They taste the same, though...
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter)
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour or almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter each mold or the cupcake pan and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. 
  2. Melt 9 tablespoons butter in a medium (light colored) skillet or a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter turns golden brown, stirring often. (It's harder to see the color of the butter in a dark pan.) Set browned butter aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites, sugar, all purpose flour and almond flour in a medium bowl until smooth. 
  4. Place honey in a small, microwave safe bowl and heat until just warm, 5-10 seconds. Beat honey into batter. Beat in browned butter.
  5. Spoon two tablespoons of batter into each mold. Bake until the tops are just dry and a tester comes out clean, about 14-16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Tap madeleines out of mold onto the rack and cool slightly. Serve warm.
Yield: 12 madeleines

December 23, 2011

Patty's Famous Mrs. Field's Cookies

It just is not truly Christmas without these cookies. For as long as I can remember, my mother has baked what she calls "Mrs. Field's cookies" for the holidays. (Her original recipe makes a batch of 90 cookies! Nearly impossible to stir at the end there. I don't recommend it.)

These cookies are out of control. As you can tell from the title, they are jam packed with nearly everything you could want in a cookie. Oatmeal. Chocolate chips. Nuts. In fact, there ends up being trace amounts of dough holding all of those goodies together. Just enough it turns out, and somehow they magically come together in the oven--quickly, too! The baking time is a short 6-8 minutes.

This recipe is straight forward, but it does have a couple twists. The first and most obvious is a grated chocolate bar stirred into the dough... in addition to the massive amount of chocolate chips. Genius, plain and simple. These are chocolate-lovers' cookies, and I happen to love chocolate--so there you go. The second riff is the additional step of blending (or food-processing) some of the oatmeal. The added flavor component and binding capacity are paramount, with very little effort.

The dough gets very, very thick. It tested the strength and determination of my "professional" Kitchen Aid stand mixer. A hand-held mixer would likely prove too weak to compete with this heavy duty dough. Lacking a stand mixer, mix this by hand. (Just make sure you build up your arm strength for a few weeks before hand...)

There is still time to add these cookies to your holiday tradition! They make great gifts, and they are a grand slam for a cookie exchange party.

Patty's Mrs. Field's Cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups oatmeal, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounce good quality (Ghiradelli or Scharffen Berger) semi-sweet chocolate bar, finely-grated
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped, roasted pecans and/or walnuts
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Cream butter and both sugars in a large bowl.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Blend 1/2 cup oatmeal in a blender or food processor until it is a power. Sift blended oatmeal together with flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  5. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture until combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips, grated chocolate, whole oats, and roasted nuts.
  7. Space golf ball-sized balls of dough on parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly, then bake for 6-8 minutes only. They will not look completely done, but I warn you--do not over cook or cookies will be too crunchy! Let cookies cool slightly on the pan on a cooling rack, then transfer to the rack.
Makes 45 cookies