“Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”
~ Mark Twain
Did I manage to fool you into thinking that I made madeleines this week for French Fridays? Well, the batter was for madeleine cookies for sure, but I do not own a madeleine baking pan. Although I've had these delicious, made-for-dunking cookies before, I'd never been tempted to make them until this week's recipe came along. As soon as these came out of the oven and were popped into my mouth, however, I wondered why I never tried my hand at making them for they were A+ delicious!
I fretted for weeks trying to figure out how to bake these madeleines without resorting to another possibly-one-off kitchen gadget purchase. Besides, my baking cabinet was already bulging to the brim with baking tools and gadgets that there was no way I could possibly squeeze another implement in there. Unless someone out there builds me a bigger cabinet or buys me another one, of course :-).
My faux madeleine molds
So while I was out at a baking store, not really *ahem* looking for a madeleine pan, I came across stacks of these disposable, shallow tart molds (above). They were sold for around US$1.00 for 50 pieces, a bargain, wouldn't you say? The sides of the molds had grooves that reminded me of the shell-like features of a proper madeleine pan. I spent the $1.00 without hesitation.
Julienned orange peel (left) and some wild Borneo honey (right)!
Dorie's recipe was an absolute delight because of the flavorful ingredients contained in it. Ginger, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper gave the cookies an interestingly subtle spiciness while the honey provided the warmth and sweetness. I made two slight modifications - instead of orange zest, I used very thinly sliced orange peel (dislodged using a potato peeler), and instead of vanilla, I added a dash of rosewater. The mix of orange and rose aromas is magic in itself, but coupled with the presence of the spices... well, they all reacted chemically to transform these madeleines into some form of drug. Probably to my detriment, I discovered that I couldn't just stop eating them at one (or two, or three). These babies were seriously addictive!
Using my mini-muffin pan, I tilted the tart molds into the muffin cups so that one side of the grooves will be more prominent once the cookies were baked, à la proper madeleines. Then of course, my first batch spilled out over the brim but the whole debacle simply taught me some valuable lessons: 1. never tilt molds when baking runny-ish batter, 2. the spilled-over cookie edges can be easily trimmed after baking, 3. don't be afraid of seeming foolish and just experiment away. If this hadn't worked out, I could always have made another one of Dorie's recipes... :-)
So it looks as if I may have to hunt down that madeleine pan after all. This is a recipe I definitely want to try out again, however I have no desire to tilt more shallow tart molds in order to do it. Oh boy...that extra baking cabinet better be in our next kitchen expansion plans!
And now for the winner of my mooncake press giveaway.....by Random.org's pronouncement, it's Ei of Cookbook Immersion Project. If that's not enough to make you jealous, she's also moving to NAPLES (as in Italy)! Ei, I'll get in touch with you soon about which mailing address to send this to - the US or Europe? :-)
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Before you enter the weekend, take some time to watch this 3-minute talk by Stacey Kramer on a mysterious gift she once received, and the things she learnt from it. Have a lovely weekend, peeps!