Monday, January 17, 2011

Madeleines for your Monday

Ugh...what an endless winter, and it's only mid-January. Someone remind me again why I choose to live in Chicago? Yep, cabin fever has hit me a bit sooner this winter, and no amount of vino, Netflix, or Wii Karaoke Revolution can shake it.

So my yearly escape from the snowy abyss will take place in February, when I will be visiting sun-soaked San Juan, Puerto Rico. Kevin and I have never been, but I hear it's a city rich in history complete with beautiful architecture, nature and amazing food. And for those of you who have traveled there, I welcome your suggestions.

In the meantime, baking seems to help me pass the time. So here's a little sunshine for your dreary, winter Monday.


  • 2/3 cup cake flour (sifted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (sifted)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar (sifted)

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Butter (2) 12 ct. madeleine molds. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

In an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, orange juice, zest and vanilla on high for 5 minutes. Add confectioners sugar gradually, and beat again on high for another 5 minutes until batter thickens.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the batter, then add melted butter. Spoon or pipe batter into molds filling 3/4 of the way. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, or until edges are light brown. Allow to cool in pans for 2 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Salted chocolate tartlets

A special thanks to my sister and her BF for funding my latest bakeware obsession...tartlet pans.

I purchased 24 of these little cuties from Sur La Table yesterday. With over a dozen different sizes and shapes available, I literally perused their tart/pie display rack for a good 45 minutes. At 3 bucks a pop, I wouldn't say that they're cheap, but they're made by the French company Gobel, and are also non-stick, which is a bonus.

And in less than 24 hours, I had managed to put them to use...

The recipe below is for one 9-1/2 inch tart, or approximately two dozen 3 inch tartlets.

Salted Chocolate Tart
Adapted from Sunset Magazine

For the chocolate sweet dough:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 5 large egg yolks

For the chocolate filling:
  • 8 ounces extra-bittersweet top-quality chocolate, such as Callebaut or Valrhona, chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 4 large eggs

For the chocolate glaze:
  • 4 ounces extra-bittersweet top-quality chocolate, such as Callebaut or Valrhona, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Maldon sea salt for sprinkling

For the dough: 
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder, then add to butter mixture and mix until combined. Add yolks and mix on low speed just until dough comes together. If small pieces remain, knead dough to blend them in. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

Unwrap dough and set on a lightly floured work surface. With short strokes from center outward, roll into a 12-in. circle. Transfer dough to a 9 1/2-in tart pan and, using your thumb, press into sides and bottom corner. Trim dough flush with top edge. Line shell with parchment paper, completely fill with dried beans or pie weights, and chill at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°.

Bake dough 10 minutes, then remove parchment and beans and return to oven until dough looks dry, about 5 minutes. Set on a rack to cool slightly.

For the filling: 
Put chocolate in a medium-size heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and coffee and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour hot liquid over chocolate and let sit 3 to 4 minutes, then gently stir until smooth. Break eggs into a large bowl and slowly pour in warm chocolate mixture, whisking constantly until incorporated.

Pour warm filling into still-warm tart shell. Bake until filling has risen slightly, appears dry on surface, and seems firm when shaken slightly, about 10 minutes. Set on a rack and let cool completely.

For the glaze:
Put chocolate and corn syrup in a medium bowl. In a microwave-safe container, heat cream to boiling; pour over chocolate. Add butter and stir slowly until smooth, working in one direction to prevent air bubbles from forming (if butter doesn't melt completely, microwave in 5-second intervals to warm slightly).

Pour glaze onto center of tart and use a small spatula to push glaze to edges. Let sit at least 15 minutes to set up before slicing. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt before serving.