April 2014 Birthdays – Gardening

Dear Friends,
Both Peachie and I are super excited that Spring is finally here! I’m actually desperate to get outside and dig in the dirt after the long, long winter we had. Of course, whatever seems to be first in mind is manifested somehow in our birthday desserts. We decided on our very popular Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and French Madeleines topped with various flavors (buttercream icing filling, lime glaze, orange glaze, and chocolate ganache sprinkled with pistachios).

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Frosting

French Madeleines - All Flavors

Pinterest provided lots of gardening craft ideas from which we took the one for stamping wooden plant stakes with the names of the flavors. And, I was able to find craft carrots for decorating at Michaels. We want to make our desserts as fun as they are delicious, so we’re thrilled that by using bright colors in the packaging we can keep them out of the ingredient list, keeping our desserts all-natural. I also had a number of small terracotta pots that I had been intending to use for an herb bread recipe that is actually baked in the pot. I guess I’ll have to wait on that one for next year 🙂

French Madeleines - Buttercream Icing

French Madeleine - Buttercream Icing in Pot

This is the first time that we tried making the French Madeleine and we now know why they are so revered. This spongy, buttery, lovely cookie is one of the best we’ve tried. Very understated. We thought that it would be fun to try experiment with the various flavors, and it was. But, I would be perfectly happy having a plain one with a cup of coffee. The only slight exception to this was a trial run we made prior to the birthday order where we filled two madeleines with Costco’s Organic, All-Natural Strawberry Jam, and sprinkled the top with powdered sugar. Wow!

French Madeleine - Buttercream Icing in Pot 2

Madeleine - Lime Glaze

Madeleine - Orange Glaze

Madeleine - Choc Pistachio

The great news is that madeleines are very inexpensive and easy to make once you have the pan. We bought ours at Sur La Table for $19.95 and used the recipe in the Better Homes & Garden Special Interest Publication, 100 Best Cookies, 2013.

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Ingredients:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
½ teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1 tablespoon orange juice or orange liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour twenty-four, 3” madeleine molds; set aside. In a small bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl beat egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until combined. Add melted butter, orange peel, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined.

Sprinkle about one-fourth of the flour mixture over egg yolk mixture; fold in gently. Repeat, folding in the remaining flour mixture by fourths. Gently stir in egg whites. Spoon batter into the prepared molds, filling each about half full.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden and tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 1 minute. Using the point of a knife, loosen each madeleine from pan; invert onto a wire rack. Cool completely. Decorate and/or fill as desired. Makes about 24 cookies.
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There weren’t any necessary modifications; I just followed the stated directions. Many bakers choose to brown the butter, instead of melting it, to achieve a nutty flavor. There were also a couple of similar recipes online: Baker’s Royale (101 Cookbooks) and Joy of Baking. Basically, you can modify the citrus flavor – orange or lemon. Some recipes suggest a lemon poppy seed variation. Enjoy the flexibility!

corrie @ Peachie’s Treats

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About Peachie's Treats

Homebaked Breads & Desserts
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