Archive for ◊ May, 2019 ◊

31 May 2019 Madelienes

Madeleines. What are they anyway?  Almost a cookie but really a slightly dry cake?  Yes, that’s right! No frosting? Nope, but they are often dusted with powdered sugar… No caramel swirl? Never! No bits of chocolate? Not usually… And what’s with that lump on the back? Gotta have a lump in the back! Sooo…, what’s the big deal? Madeleines are super plain, super dry, and super yummy, I love them! Madeleines are popular tea cakes in cafes around the world. The world loves them!

Madeleines are French tea cakes, but thought of as a cookie, and are instantly recognizable with their scalloped shell shape that is ribbed on one side and smooth, but with a hump, on the other. Direct from the oven these buttery cakes have wonderfully crisp edges, tender crumb and are best eaten right away, although they will keep in a tin on the counter for 3-4 days. A dusting of powdered sugar is all that they really need, although some brush still warm Madeleines with a tangy lemon glaze.  Starbucks dips tips of their Madeleines into chocolate.

Madeleines are quite easy to make, but you’ll need to purchase scalloped Madeleine molds to get started. The molds are available in different sizes and materials, but you’ll probably find non-stick pans to be the easiest to use.

I have tested out many recipes over the years.  This one is from Epicurious, but with changes to cooking times, method, and ingredients (I doubled the lemon zest, upped the vanilla, added in some baking powder, reduced the oven temperature and reduced the baking time).

The recipe below makes 24 Madeleines.

Madeleines

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (usually from one medium lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all purpose flour
  • 5 oz (10 tablespoons, 1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (plus extra to brush in molds)
  • Powdered sugar
  • Extra melted butter to brush on pans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush each madeleine mold with melted butter (use the additional butter, not the 5 oz needed for the batter!)
  3. Beat eggs and sugar with electric mixer just to blend
  4. Beat in vanilla, lemon zest, and salt
  5. In another bowl, whisk flour with baking powder and salt and then add gradually to butter-sugar-egg mixture.
  6. Gradually add melted and cooled butter to mixture, beating with electric mixer just to blend
  7. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each buttered madeleine mold
  8. Place in preheated oven and bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned and there is a visible hump in the middle of each madeleine.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Repeat with remaining batter. Recipe makes 24 standard sized madeleines
  11. When cool, dust with powdered sugar. If necessary dust with powdered sugar again just before serving.

Note: Batter can be made one day ahead. Refrigerate batter and baked on day two.

Variation: replace lemon zest with orange zest and add 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom to the flour mixture.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! I hope you find someone wonderful to share these special treats with 🙂

10 May 2019 Tropical Mango Scones

It takes a lot to get true mango flavor in baked goods.  This scone recipe manages it but it does require mango in three different forms: crushed freeze-dried mango, dried mango, and diced frozen mango. Then throw in a bit of coconut and a bit of lime zest and you have a Tropical Mango Scone. You also have to add an egg. An egg? In a scone? I am usually a scone purist. No eggs! But I’ll make an exception, just this one time, because it works in this recipe.

The original recipe only called for frozen mango, which is interesting in itself. I’d never baked with frozen mango. I didn’t think it would work, but it did! I added the freeze-dried mango (always available at Trader Joe’s, and now starting to show up in main stream grocery stores) and the dried mango (available everywhere) to boost the flavor.

Tropical Mango Scones

  • 2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
  • approx. 20 grams (less than one ounce) freeze-dried mango crushed to a fine powder
  • ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • ½ cup diced dried mango
  • ½ cup sugar + additional teaspoon sugar (divided use)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • zest of 2 limes
  • ½ cup butter, frozen
  • ½ cup heavy cream + additional 1-2 Tablespoons (divided use)
  • 1 egg
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup dried mango, diced
  • 1 cup frozen mango, diced into ¼ inch chunks
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine flour, crushed freeze-dried mango, flaked coconut, diced dried mango, sugar, lime zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir well to combine.
  4. In another bowl combine ½ cup heavy cream, egg, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  5. GRATE the frozen butter into the flour mixture then, using a fork, stir the butter into the flour mixture until well combined.
  6. Drizzle the cream-egg-vanilla mixture over the flour-butter mixture. Using the fork, combine the ingredients into a cohesive ball, this may take awhile. If the mixture is too dry, work a little extra cream into the mixture.
  7. Gently fold in the frozen mango mini-chunks.
  8. Divide the dough in half. If necessary sprinkle with a bit of flour. Shape the dough into a circle about the size of a salad plate.
  9. Place onto one side of prepared baking sheet
  10. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, divide dough into six equal pieces.
  11. Repeat with remaining dough in bowl (SEE NOTE BELOW).
  12. Brush tops of scones with the additional 1-2 heavy cream, then sprinkle with additional 1 teaspoon sugar.
  13. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and share 🙂

NOTE: The second half of the dough can be placed on a plate and frozen for later baking. No need to defrost before baking. Just place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Might need to bake 2-4 more minutes.

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today!

04 May 2019 Sweet Chili-Citrus Shrimp with Sugar Snap Peas

Not every published recipe works, and that’s a pet peeve of mine. Recently my Cookbook Club received the galley proofs for a soon-to-be-published cookbook. We cooked 19 recipes from the cookbook. Not one worked as written! Not one! Quantities didn’t fit into the stated pans, the oven temperatures were too low, cooking times were too short, methods were inconsistent, steps were missing, and some recipes simply didn’t work or were just plain weird… Jicama Fries anyone? Cauliflower with red wine?

I think the author had some good ideas, but I don’t think any recipe was tested outside of her kitchen or by anyone other than herself.  Badly written (or just plain wrong) recipes are a pet peeve of mine. I think some people end up thinking they are bad cooks just because they have had a couple of run-ins with bad recipes. Gr-r-r-r. It’s all about the recipe, folks (which was the name of my second “cookbook”, that I had passed out to my friends on my 50th birthday).

That all being said, this recipe, from the cookbook we reviewed, has become a favorite. It’s a sheet pan recipe! A ‘new trend’, which is really an old one rehashed, but whatev! After living six decades I have seen trends come, go, and come back again. Anyway, back to the recipe. I had to make some adjustments to methods and oven temperatures, and add in the rice component and now this recipe is one of the quickest, company-worthy, restaurant quality dinners I have on file. The picture above doesn’t do it justice. The shrimp are much more saucy and colorful. The picture below is a bit better, but I only had half the quantity of snap peas and I really should have removed the tails from the shrimp before cooking them. So, on with the recipe, because it’s a good one.

Note: I have been going back and forth about crediting this recipe to the cookbook author referenced above. After much thought I decided not to because I said so many negative (but truthful) things about her cookbook.

To make this you’ll need TWO large sheet pans, and some cooked rice. Either serve the dish in three different bowls, a bowl of rice, a bowl of peas, and a bowl of shrimp, OR layered in one 9×13 serving dish.

Sweet Chili-Lime Shrimp with Sugar Snap Peas

1/2 cup orange marmalade (heated slightly to make pour-able and mixable)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (usually 2 limes)

2 teaspoons Thai Chili Garlic Paste (It’s red, and sold in jars in Asian section of most grocery stores)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 lbs shrimp, defrosted if necessary, with shells and tails removed (I like the frozen shrimp from Costco)

1 pound sugar snap peas

2 cups hot prepared rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2.  Combine marmalade, soy sauce, lime juice, chili-garlic paste and ground ginger.
  3.  Place the prepared shrimp into a large bowl or a large Ziploc bag. Pour marmalade mixture over shrimp and toss to coat.
  4. Pour the shrimp and all the marinade onto a sheet pan.
  5. Rinse and dry the sugar snap peas, and then toss with the olive oil.
  6. Pour the sugar snap peas onto another sheet pan.
  7. Place both sheet pans into hot 400 degree oven.
  8. Remove the snap peas after 5-7 minutes. Peas should be shiny and crisp.
  9. Let the shrimp cook for an additional minute or two. Remove from the oven when fully cooked, the shrimp should be totally opaque and curled into a “C” shape.
  10. Either serve the dish in three different bowls, a bowl of rice, a bowl of peas, and a bowl of shrimp, OR, as I do now, in one 9×13 serving dish with rice on the bottom, peas in the next layer, and the shrimp and sauce poured on top. The sauce eventually meets the rice and…, yum-m-m…, heaven!
  11. Serve and share 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

04 May 2019 Apricot-Coconut Bars

Feel like baking this weekend? Try these! They are delicious, one of my favorite bar/tray bake recipes. The bars are buttery, crisp, jammy, and coconut-y all at the same time. The dozen or so diced dried apricots sprinkled on top of the apricot jam boost the apricot flavor appreciably.

I’ve been making these bars for at least a decade. The original recipe was made with raspberry jam (and no diced apricots, obviously), but I think my apricot jam version with the addition of diced dried apricots takes the cake…, the bar…, the tray bake!

Apricot-Coconut Bars

1 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided use

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats

¾ cup apricot jam

10-12 dried apricots finely diced

  1. Prepare a 9×13 pan by lightly greasing bottom and sides or lining with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Toast the coconut in a dry frying pan until golden. Stir constantly and watch carefully OR spread onto a baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor blend flour, brown sugar and salt. With motor running add butter pieces gradually then blend until a dough begins to form.
  5. Add 1 cup of toasted coconut and all of the oatmeal to dough in bowl, mix lightly but thoroughly, approx. 2-4 short bursts.
  6. Reserve ¾ cup of the dough and set aside.
  7. Press remaining dough into bottom of a prepared 9×13 inch baking pan.
  8. Sprinkle chopped dried apricots over dough.
  9. Spread jam evenly over dried apricots and the dough layer (It might help to heat jam briefly in the microwave to make it easier to spread).
  10. Crumble reserved ¾ cup of dough over jam.
  11. Sprinkle reserved ½ cup coconut over top of bars.
  12. Bake in middle of preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
  13. Cool in pan.
  14. Lift entire slab out of pan, transfer to cutting board and cut into bars of desired size and shape.
  15. Bars can be made 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!