Sometimes, the most difficult thing about being busy is not being able to stick to your "routine." Humans, by nature, are creatures of habit. When we're children and beyond - including the college students in the classes I teach - we will chose a seat the first day of class, and more often than not, will return to that same seat the rest of the semester. Most people have a 'morning routine' and a 'bedtime' routine...we'll wash our faces, brush our teeth, eat in the same place every night...those types of things. Me, I like to come home from work, feed the dogs (or nag Dr. Loving Boyfriend to do it, as every good Dr. has a good woman to keep him in line), set to work preparing dinner, eat it at the table, in my chair, then relax and do whatever I'm feeling like that evening. And let me tell you, I really like to read my food magazines, get ideas for things I want to make, go to the grocery store, all that foodie-type stuff...
But being so busy lately, my food magazines have been piling up, unread. My fridge, usually bursting to the hilt from my trips to the farmer's market, has become devoid of vegetables and other perishables, save what we purchased for single dinners while Loving Boyfriend's parents were here), and I haven't opened a cupboard, planned a meal, or banged around a pan in weeks. This weekend was my revenge.
Last week, after working long hours non-stop, after entertaining (although, Loving Boyfriend, being the gem that he is, did most of the cooking) for nearly a week every evening, I dropped one of my precious experiments on the floor at the very last step. It was horrible. I knew it would take me an entire week to re-do that single part of my experiment. I wanted to cry. I wanted to throw things. I called Loving Boyfriend and whined. And then I did as every foodie must do: I prompty went out, drove straight to my favorite kitchen store, and bought myself a pan I'd been wanting for quite some time - a madeline mold. This weekend, I finally got to use it.
Sometimes, comfort for me is in following my routine. Sometimes it's taking a hike or getting out in the sunshine when I've been couped up inside a building for too long. Sometimes it's driving an hour to the coast just to sit in front of that big grey ocean and let it work its magic on me. Sometimes it's just laying around on the couch watching a movie or reading a book or a magazine. And over the last year, comfort has become getting into my kitchen, banging some pans around, and making something to eat. This weekend, comfort came in the shape of those soft, cake-like distinctively shell-shaped madeline cookies, and a steaming cup of hot tea.
May you find your own little piece of comfort today.
Orange-Cardamom Madeleines, from Martha Stewart Living
Makes 2 dozen
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 tbsp. good-quality honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 tbsp. strained orange juice
Brush the molds of a madeline pan with butter, then set aside. Make the batter: Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, then stir in honey and vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom together in a small bowl; set aside. Stir together the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl and fold in the the flour mixture until combined. Add the butter mixture and fold in until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling each mold halfway. Tap the pan against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until cookies are puffed and golden around the edges; about 7-8 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Unmold cookies onto rack and let cool completely.
Make the glaze: Stir together the sugar, orange zest and orange juice in a small bowl until the glaze is smooth, thick and opaque. Coat the ridged side of each cookie with glaze using a small pastry brush. Let set 15 minutes. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days, but truly, they are best the first day as they begin to get a bit soggy after a few days.
My notes: The glaze wasn't as thick as it needed to be - the first round soaked right into the cookie instead of sitting on top of it, so I added more confectioner's sugar until it was a bit thicker. Also, it's difficult to only fill the molds up halfway (what's halfway in a madeline mold?!), so mine ended up being a bit bigger and I only got about 1.5 dozen. The cookies are quite sweet due to the glaze, but the cardamom leaves a very nice spicy bite at the end. I do think they are best with tea (I like Earl Grey with them) to cut through the sweetness of the glaze.
written by Michelle at 10:29 AM