Lemon & Cardamom Madeleines

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Madeleines are so much fun to make at home, especially because they are best when eaten warm and crispy from the oven. The batter is easily flavoured with spices, zests, lavender, rose water or vanilla and it can be conveniently stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. To achieve that classic madeleine hump, make sure to refrigerate the batter for at least 12 hours before baking.

Lemon & Cardamom Madeleines

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Lemon Glazed Madeleines 

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (175g)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar (130g)
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter (120g), melted and cooled to room temperature
Zest of one lemon
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean

Method:

Whisk to combine the flour and ground cardamom.

Add the lemon zest and vanilla seeds to the melted butter and whisk to combine.

Add the sugar, salt, and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat for 5 minutes on medium speed until thickened (hand beaters will work as well).

Sift the dry ingredients over the egg mixture and fold with a spatula until no streaks of flour remain.

Add the melted butter to the bowl and quickly fold the ingredients together just until the butter is incorporated.

Scrape the batter into a glass bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the batter and chill the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.

To bake:

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Brush the madeleine molds with a small amount of melted butter, and once it has cooled dust with flour and tap out the excess.

Use a spoon to place a small scoop of the batter in the center of each mold. The molds should be approximately 3/4 full, but make sure to leave the batter mounded in the center to achieve the classic hump.

Bake the madeleines for 8-9 minutes, or just until they spring back to the touch.

Immediately knock the madeleines out of the tray and onto a wire rack to cool.

They are best when eaten the same day, and even better when hot and crispy from the oven. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Taking Notes From The Cake Bible

We thoroughly enjoy winter baking in our kitchen, but with the thaw comes excitement at the thought of having wonderfully fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs once again. As snow melts and the molasses, spices and dried fruit are shuffled to the back of the pantry, the Dough House is gearing up to make some cake. It’s time to celebrate!

One of my favourite hidden gems in rural Ontario is the Chicory Common, for both breakfast and baking supplies. One part bustling café and the other a well-stocked natural foods store, the Common is a haven for happy food and happy people. Where else would I find locally milled whole wheat pastry flour next to juicy organic vanilla beans?

To celebrate their 5th anniversary, I am creating two lavish layer cakes featuring ingredients found in the store. The first will be a lemon cake with a curd filling and a silky vanilla buttercream, and other is planned to be a decadent triple chocolate cake complete with dark layers, whipped ganache, and a rich chocolate frosting.

My first task is to make several large batches of meringue buttercream, as this icing freezes beautifully and therefore can be made ahead of time. The velvety and lightly sweet icing is the perfect cream-coloured canvas for vanilla bean seeds, and their mellow notes will pair nicely with the bright lemon curd.

Matcha Sugar Cookies

Two months before Christmas, and already all I am thinking is cookies, cookies, cookies. After last year’s “soft cookie” mishap (hint: do not gift wrap crispy cookies in the same container as moist ones, unless you want a sad limp box of biscuits), I’ve decided to stick to a sampling of everybody’s favourite: shortbreads. Excited to use my newly arrived organic matcha, I put together a test a batch using two tablespoons of the vibrant green tea powder. As soon as the dough came together, I realised from the colour, texture and smell that my key ingredient was incredibly potent. I learned that if you are working with a high quality tea, you can and should use a fraction of what the recipe calls for. The second lesson was that matcha powder needs sugar the same way cocoa powder does, so I switched to a basic sugar cookie recipe and found success. I added half a tablespoon of matcha to the recipe, scrapped in a beautifully plump organic vanilla bean, and pressed the cut shapes into granulated sugar to add extra sweetness and some sparkle. In the end I had a mildly flavoured and pleasantly sweet little cookie that would be lovely to share with a tea-drinking friend.

And so two months of cookies kicks off not with a shortbread, but with a simple cut-out. I did however have time to sneak in a test batch of dark chocolate shortbread, and they were so naughty I plan on seeing how they go over at my sister’s shop this week. I will try to get some good shots of the ladies mid munching, these bittersweet cookies are an absolutely blissful experience.

matcha powder

matcha flower

During the break

While I was gone…

My camera may have been on the fritz, but my oven was not! Last week we scored a beautiful half bushel of Northern Spy apples from a farming friend, had an excuse to bake another fruit pie, and glimpsed shortbreads mysteriously appearing and disappearing fom the kitchen. So far the munchy cornbread rounds are a hit, and this week we are experimenting with some exciting organic matcha.

pear pie filling

And as promised, the shots of the cranberry cake from a few weeks back. Essentially, this tart and buttery treat is made by fitting a rolled circle of shortbread dough into a springform pan, spreading a cranberry filling overtop, and covering it with a second circle of dough. You can’t really go wrong with a jammy shortbread cookie, and the technique is nifty because of all the possible filling substitutions. Apple butter anyone?

shortcakedough