Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Cheer

Chocolate Madeleines

Now that was a long nap…

Sorry for the long delay, it seems as though the Christmas rush has descended on Sydney in all means and measures. Work has been a frenzied hive of commotion in preparation for the holidays and we have barely even had time to scratch ourselves. For some people, shirts have remained unchanged after days of being at work, unkempt hair has been the style around the workplace and days of lost sleep have resulted in inventive attempts at concealing bloodshot eyes; it’s a glamourous job as you can see. I’ve got bags under my eyes the size of wineskins and I’ve been forced to live on bowls of popcorn and Redskins that will probably make my thighs the size of Grecian columns.

Not only has work been busy, but the shopping centres have also begun to burst with both eager and reluctant shoppers determined to get their Christmas shopping done. The Christmas crowds are quickly filling the shopping centres and you know how much I hate crowds; although it’s ironic that I am one of the crowd, yet they still bother me. I think it’s the fact that it is virtually impossible to walk in a straight line without colliding into another person. And when you are carrying 5 full bags of shopping you are somehow still expected to move out of a person’s way that is carrying a bag equivalent to the weight of a hairless Chihuahua. It almost requires some sort of military training to make your way through those busy aisles, dodging brimming shopping carts and the ubiquitous pram that nowadays seems to take up the same space as a 12-seater bus. Luckily I am what polite people call petite and I can easily slip through cracks in the crowd without infuriating other shoppers.

Chocolate Madeleines

Well, I can’t believe its only 17 days until Christmas and although I do like to bemoan the crowds of which I am a part of, I really am full of Christmas cheer. I absolutely do love Christmas and at the risk of sounding clichĂ©, the spirit of Christmas is all about love, hope and peace, and in reality it’s a message that everyone can share in regardless of what you believe. I think that is why I love Christmas, it’s inclusive, rather than exclusive; homes and hearts are opened up, and in a city like Sydney, Christmas just makes the whole place light up, quite literally, in fact.

If you ask me, another thing that makes me light up are these madeleines (it's a pitiful segue, I know, but bear with me, I am sleep deprived). I have always loved these delightful little treats although never blogged about them until recently, and now I am blogging two madeleine recipes within a week of each other, fancy that!

Chocolate Madeleines

These two recipes, one being Shannon Bennett’s recipe for plain madeleines and this one from Gourmet Traveller’s Chocolate Edition for Chocolate Madeleines are my two favourite recipes, quite simply because they work, without fail. Of all the recipes I have attempted, these two have produced the best texture, taste and crumb by far. That is just my opinion and I have yet to try Dorie Greenspan’s recipe which could possibly make the list too, but don’t quote me on these being the best madeleine recipes ever, I am certain not all of you will find these to be the best. But if you’re interested in finding out here’s the recipe.


Chocolate Madeleines
From Gourmet Traveller’s CHOCOLATE
makes 20 madeleines

Chocolate Madeleines

Soft butter, for greasing
100g unsalted butter, diced
70g plain all-purpose flour
25g Dutch-process cocoa
40g ground almonds pinch of salt
3 eggs
110g caster sugar, plus extra for coating

Brush a madeleine tin with soft butter and refrigerate until cold, then repeat process. Melt chopped butter in a small saucepan until foamy and light brown, then remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve. Cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, ground almonds and salt into a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until mixture holds a trail. Add flour mixture and cooled butter to the eggs and stir gently until well combined. Stand mixture for 10 minutes, then spoon level tablespoons of mixture into holes of prepared tin and make at 190°C for 8-10 minutes. Carefully transfer madeleines onto a wire rack to cool. Repeat process with remaining madeleine batter, remembering to double butter and chill the tin before baking. Brush part of the madeleines with some melted butter and dip in caster sugar. Dust off extra sugar.


By the way, if you’re interested, what I got for my birthday... I received some really wonderful gifts, one being a gorgeous Tiffany’s necklace from G and also this little beauty from some girlfriends, which I know most of you will be excited about…

DH cookbook

Will the next few posts come from this book? Of course!


Tanna said...

I'm so glad you showed the inside - except that's where I drooled. Your madeleines look divine. I guess it's the pan that intimidates people. But, madeleines are pretty straight forward, simple, look fabulous and are so good to eat. I do want to make them for the holidays.
You certainly nailed the Christmas shopping thing. Shopping is just not my thing, well maybe it's the crowds.

Patricia Scarpin said...

OMG, these madeleines look so delicious - posting photos like that is a mean, mean thing! :D

Tks for sharing the recipe.

Btw, I have this book and I can't get enough of it. Everything is so good and appealing that it gets really hard choosing one recipe to prepare!

wheresmymind said...

You should've posted a pic of Coco with a chocolate Madeleine

Brilynn said...

I'm looking forward to seeing some of those Donna Hay recipes!

Kristen said...

Those cookies are one of my favorite kinds.
Lovely photos and writing. I enjoy your blog!

gagatka said...

I'm not really fond of plain madeleines but the choco version seems irresistble!

Ellie said...

What beautiful little madelines! I can't wait to see what beauties you're going to make from the new book!

Anonymous said...

These photos in this post are beyond gorgeous, especially the one where you've just taken a bite out of one of the madeleines!

Ari (Baking and Books)

peabody said...

These look lovely. I like the dipping in the sugar, nice touch.

Helene said...

Nice nice nice! I have made Lavender Madeleines from Dorie and I have to say her recipe is awesome, texture and bump and all.
Nice gifts!!

bea at La tartine gourmande said...

One word is enough! Yum, a big fav!

Mae said...

JenJen, gimme, gimme, gimme. Please? :)


eliza said...

i love madeleines and i've tried the chocolate as well and thought that it's the best one! you food photos are gorgeous.

midnite lily said...

yums. you make those madeleines look yummier than the plain ones.

btw, hope u don't mind i ask, but where do u shop for your baking ingredients. m new to sydney and i'm pretty eager to bake some gingerbreadmen for christmas ^_^

jenjen said...

Tanna- Yes I think I was somewhat intimidated by their different appearence in the past, but once you get over that fear you see that they are so simple to make.

Patricia Scarpin- Oh I'm sorry for being so mean : )

And yes, this book is one I will baking a lot from.

wheresmymind- He's actually become a little camera shy recently... with all the baking he's been doing he's sustained a few stains and burns. Maybe after his wash he can come back into the spotlight.

Brilynn- Don't worry they will be coming!

Kristen- I couldn't agree more, madeleines are some of the most simple and perfect dessert cakes. Thanks.

Gagatka- They were definitely hard to resist I had to stop myself from eating a whole tray, although I knew I was quite capable of doing so!

Ellie- Thank you, you are so sweet!

Ari- That one is my favourite too! They were truly delicious and I am still dreaming about them.

Peabosy- Thanks, I thought the sugar coating made the madeleines taste a little too sweet although they did look good.

Helene- Oooh, lavender madeleines, I think that just sounds so heavenly. I must try that someday.

Bea- Thanks, I am glad that you like them, especially when they are your country's beloved little cakes!

Mae- Anytime! I think we should do some sort of swap. Perhaps a taste of your gorgeous truffles in return for some of these madeleines?

Eliza- Thanks, I think these ones are my favourite too. Although I would never say no to some plain madeleines.

Midnite Lily- Hello and welcome to Sydney!

I work around North Sydney so I usually do my shopping after work at Macro Wholefoods. They stock a large range of organic and specialty products. They also have lots of organic fresh fruit and vegies, so it's all there.

They also have Macro at Bondi, and Aboutlife in Balmain, so it just depends on whereabouts you live.

midnite lily said...

I'm in Balmain. I was just at AboutLife the other day. Hmmm.. Didn't see the ginger powder tho'. Got to look again. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Mmmh, these look simply delicious. I'll have to try make them into small tartellettes... I might get kicked out if I buy any more kitchenware at this time-- .___.;
I was wondering, is it just my browser playing up, or the quantities for the butter aren't showing?


ceviz said...

Hi, What is the amount for unsalted butter? Thanks.

jenjen said...

Cerviz- Sorry for taking so long to reply. The amount of butter is 100g. It has since been fixed on the post. Thanks for picking it up.