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Last week, I challenged my readers to Bake and Share Challenge #2. I encouraged you to bake for someone suffering from an illness including their caretakers and families throughout the month of March. Just in the last week, a few people have told me of friends dealing with cancer. We hear about these things all too much these days. We can help out by spreading kindness and sharing smiles for those victims of illness by baking something for them. I chose to bake for a fundraising event at my local salon. It is the second year the salon has hosted this fundraiser. This year, it was bigger and better than last year! Five salons in my local area participated in the event, which is two more than last. Last year, they rose around $10,000 to donate to the BrainUp Foundation to support brain cancer research. The foundation was founded by the Kresach family and the Roz Bernstein family of New York to achieve the goal of a brain cancer cure. The Kresach family lost their daughter to brain cancer. Their daughter was a client of my friend and stylist at the salon. I was thrilled to be able to bake for this event. I also donated a basket filled with my favorite baking tools and ingredients to be raffled off.
When I arrived at the event with this basket and three trays of baked goodies, Mrs. Kresach thanked me, gave me a hug, and told me how much it meant to her that I donated the basket and trays. I had never met her before, and her genuine thanks touched me in a way that I cannot describe. It truly brought me so much joy to be able to do something so small as baking and putting together a basket and know that this small act of kindness made a difference in someone’s life. It showed that mother who lost her only, beautiful, precious, child that someone cares. As I walked around the fundraiser and saw photos of her daughter she lost to the awful disease we all know as cancer, I couldn’t help but get emotional and want to weep for her and her family. I hugged and kissed my three precious children many extra times yesterday. I am looking forward to hearing how much the fundraiser raised this year! For the two other trays, I made salted caramel macarons, and chocolate chip cookies. A dear friend of mine made chocolate chip scones and vanilla bean scones to add to my cookie tray. She also came over the morning of the fundraiser to help me bake. She baked the cookie dough I prepared while I baked the madelines. She was not only extremely helpful in the kitchen, but her presence kept me calm as I tend to get anxious and nervous when I am baking for such an important event. Plus, baking with a friend is always so much more fun than baking alone!!!! There is plenty of time left this month to make a difference in someones life. I encourage to get out there and bake and share!!!!
Madelines….oh yummy yummy madelines! I did a little bit of research on Madeline recipes for this occasion. I have made them one other time in the past and thought they were just ok. They had a bit of a spongy texture. I came across a recipe by David Lebovitz. He is a renowned pastry chef who left the restaurant business to live in Paris and pursue writing books. He has a few cookbooks I am dying to get my hands on including “The Sweet Life in Paris,” and “My Paris Kitchen.” I ended up settling on his recipe for lemon glazed madelines. I doubled the recipe and dipped half of them in lemon glaze and half of them in guittard dark chocolate. Yes, the chocolate is a bit more expensive, but oh so worth it. I about fainted and swooned when I ate one of the madelines dipped in chocolate. I will be making these again to bring to my family Easter celebration just because I cannot wait to eat another one! The lemon glazed madelines were also delicious. I love how the outside is just a tiny bit crisp and the inside had a lovely cake texture. Dave Lebovitz brought up the debate of using baking powder in the madeline batter. Some say use it, and some say don’t. So I looked up the recipe from my other favorite french pastry chef, Pierre Hermes. He used the baking powder so I decided I would use it too. The only issue with using the baking powder is that your madelines may have humps on the back. Indeed, mine DID have humps. At first, I thought that was a bad thing. Then, I decided to trim the humps ever so slightly so the madelines could lay flat. I think the humps are worth having because I really enjoyed the cake-like texture. I made my madeline dough the evening before I baked them, then baked them off in the morning. The batter needs to chill for 3-12 hours. You will need a madeline pan. I use this pan from chicago metallic and love it.
I actually have two pans so I can have one prepped and in the freezer while one is in the oven. I also used my small cookie scoop to fill the molds. I used one rounded scoop per mold.
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
zest of one small lemon
9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
For the Glaze
3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
3. Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)
4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
7. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by 3/4’s. Again, I used a rounded scoop of batter using my small cookie scoop. Do not spread the batter.
8. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.
9. Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they’re cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.
Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they’re best eaten the day they’re made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary.
Yield: 24 Madelines
Adapted from The Sweet Life In Paris by David Lebovitz
Tempering the Chocolate
To dip the madelines in chocolate, you will need to temper it. Why do you need to temper the chocolate? Tempering the chocolate assures that your chocolate will harden and look shiny. If you do not temper it, it will look dull and will not completely set. I was so afraid of tempering chocolate until I learned how in a baking class I took. It is actually quite simple. I got this awesome infared thermometer for Christmas which makes tempering the chocolate a breeze!
- Melt 9 oz of high quality chocolate wafers (do not use chocolate chips) in the microwave until it reaches 115 degrees. Reserve 3 oz of chocolate wafers to use as seed chocolate. To melt the chocolate, I microwaved it for 30 second at a time on half power until it reached 115 degrees.
- Add half of the reserved chocolate wafers to the melted chocolate and stir until It melts. Check the temperature. You will need the chocolate to be between 90-92 degrees to be in temper. Continue to add chocolate wafers, stirring until they melt until you reach 90-92 degrees.
- Once you reach the proper temperature, you can now dip your madelines. If your chocolate dips below 90 degrees, warm it back up to 90-92 degrees to keep it in temper.
*If you use baking powder, they may take another minute or so to bake since the batter will rise higher. They’re done when the cakes feel just set if you poke them with your finger. Avoid overbaking them.
* Bake these in the upper-third of your oven, so the tops get slightly-browned. The lemon glaze is delicious, but you can omit it if you want your madeleines plain. Or you can dip them in chocolate!
Bake and Share Ideas:
- Bake the madelines for your Easter celebration
- Invite a few friends over and see the madelines with coffee and tea. They are delicious with both!
- Bake and share with a friend or family who needs a boost of love and kindness!!