I had SUCH a wonderful weekend. It felt long and I felt full after. Full of love. Full of life. Friday night I made a wonderful dinner for the family comprised of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus w/parmesan cheese and a good crusty loaf of bread. We took our time eating which is a rare thing in our house. After dinner we had a nice chat while the kids went off to play. I had to limit the wine as I was looking at a ten miler the next morning. Saturday morning rolls around and I crawl, literally, out of bed at 6 in the morning, drive to Yarmouth and discover the most zestful running people I have ever met. I run 10 miles, while chatting with a brand new, never met before lady, the whole time. Even the downpour that occurred at miles 3-6 couldn’t kill my spirit, I was having a great time. I left the run with a renewed outlook on life, smiling to myself on the drive home that a) I still have it in me and b) there is hope after all for a grand running buddy. The remainder of the day was spent outdoors with the kids and closed out with a nice spaghetti & meatball dinner with some friends we love. I made them these madelienes because after a heavy pasta dinner, all you need is a little French cookie with coffee. Plus, these are so easy to whip up. Sunday, my husband surprised me with amazing gifts: flowers, a gift certificate for a massage, some great books and a new juicer. I looked at him and thought: yes, he is the best. The love I have for him in my heart is un-matched. We went to my favorite greenhouse and I bought half the place while the kids got pushed around in the carts. It was a perfect day. I went to bed feeling lucky, because I am.
The first recipe I was going to work with had brown sugar, which I had none of, so I made my own. However, I found a different recipe I liked a little better, so the homemade brown sugar will just have to be reserved for another time. When you make your own, it’s softer and just tastes better. Add 1 tablespoon of molasses to 1 cup of sugar for outstanding light brown sugar.
VANILLA BEAN MADELIENES
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate small bowl, combine the sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla beans. Use your fingers to rub the zest and beans into the sugar, releasing their aromatic oils.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar mixture with the eggs on medium high speed until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Use a spatula to fold in the melted butter, and then the flour.
3. Cover and refrigerate batter for 3 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease and flour a madeleine pan.
5. Fill the shells of the madeleine pan with the chilled batter almost full. Bake until centers are puffed and edges are golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, then pop out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Madeleines are best the day they are made, but may be stored for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.