French Madeleines

I have a confession. No, it’s nothing salacious. I’m here to tell you that I had never tasted the sweet, buttery cookie/cake hybrid that is a madeleine until very recently. If you are as aghast as though I confessed a tawdry affair or secret crime, you have the correct reaction.

It’s bonkers.

Recently, Barbara Feldmas Morse’s beautiful cookbook Madeleines arrived at my door. With its plump cookies on the cover and thick pages filled with everything from sweet to savory madeleines, I was transfixed. The number of times I flipped through the pages boarders on obsessive compulsive.

I couldn’t help myself.

After many nights looking through the cookbook, I decided the only logical way to start was at the beginning. Classic French Madeleines. I love a good vanilla dessert. And these, my friends, did not disappoint.

The combination of vanilla, lemon and spongy cake is perfection. I ate my first plain—right out of the pan and still hotter than I should admit. The house smelled so wonderful, warm and sweet during their baking that I really couldn’t help myself.

The second, third and fourth, I had with a sweet milk tea and an occasional dip. It was heaven. I also felt wonderfully fancy with my petite teacakes and tea. In my mind, I could totally hold my own with Kate Middleton. She also thought I was a delight.

Now, the real reason we are here is because of Morse’s cookbook. I know that I have already mentioned the beauty of Madeleines but it’s overwhelming. It’s a cookbook lover’s kind of book. Thick page. Stunning photos. Simple recipes.

There are 70 recipes to choose from. They are divided into Not Just Plain Vanilla, Morning Madeleines, Dark and Deluxe Chocolate Madeleines, Fruit and Nuts, Savory and Appetizer, and Indulgent Madeleines. There are at least a few in each category that I can’t wait to try. A couple that caught my eye include chai tea madeleines, cheese Danish madeleines, brie-stuff madeleine puffs and banana foster madeleines.

Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share by Barbara Feldman Morse


Classic French Madeleines
Buttery, lemon and vanilla cakes. Perfect with a cup of tea.
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  1. 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  2. 1 cup AP four
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 3 large eggs
  5. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the eggs and sugar. Beat on medium high until the mixture is light and fluffy--about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and continue beating for another minute.
  2. Fold in the flour mixture until just blended. Drizzle the cooled butter over the batter and incorporate completely.
  3. Add the batter to two 12-shell pans that have been sprayed with non-stick. Bake at 350 fro 10-12 minutes, until madeleines are puffed up and golden brown. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.



I’ve officially returned from a self-imposed hiatus. Was there fun and trouble to be had during this break? Unfortunately, no. It mostly consisted of real life work and an overabundance of Netflix. 

You know, the stuff that nourishes the soul.

I’m currently struggling with a case of the restlessness. My wheels are constantly turning but there are roadblocks at every turn. I’m like a car stuck in the mud. At some point, the tires will catch and I’ll speed off. I just might need to get a little dirty first.

In the meantime, there have been all kinds of fantastic food simmering away in the kitchen. With the turn in the weather, I’ve been making comfort food by the truckload. I hope you’re ready. 

Today’s recipe is rooted in simplicity and ease. All of the ingredients were already in the house when I started. Better yet, it can be adjusted for what you have on hand. Versatility is always a wonderful friend.

You have your basics: pasta, tomatoes and meat. I added mushrooms and caramelized onions to the base. Then you have your basic seasonings and a bit of cheese. Within 20 minutes, you have a solid dinner.


Farfalle with Chicken Sausage and Roasted Tomatoes
An easy and versatile pasta that can be made in about 20 minutes.
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  1. 1 box farfelle (cooked according to package directions)
  2. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 caramelized onion
  4. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 package pre-sliced mushrooms
  7. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  9. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  10. 1 package chicken sausages, sliced
  11. 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes
  12. 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  13. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, sausage and mushrooms. Once the sausage and mushrooms are browned, add the remaining ingredients (minus the cheese and basil) and cook for about 5-10 minutes or until everything is properly heated.
  2. Right before serving add the fresh basil and toss to combine. Top with the reserved cheese and serve.
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light


Italian Plum Torte

September 14, 2014

Plum Torte

It’s officially fall around here. Not in terms of weather—it’s still warm and wonderfully sunny. I’m talking about fall soccer. It’s up and running and hit me like a truck.

At this point, I’m still trying to catch my breath, find some of my missed sleep and nurse my wounds. Really, organizing soccer for nearly 3,000 players is a giant, seemingly insurmountable task.

As I continue to recover, I’d like to eat this Italian Plum Torte just about everyday. I am convinced that it has magical restorative powers.

The recipe came from Smitten Kitchen. As always, the recipe is perfection. It’s a sweet, rich cake with juicy, tart Italian plums sprinkled in that gets even better the second day around. I don’t know about the third day because there was not even a crumb left after day two. 

Italian Plum Torte
It’s a sweet, rich cake with juicy, tart Italian plums sprinkled in that gets even better the second day around.
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  1. 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. Large pinch of salt
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
  6. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 12 Italian purple plums, halved and pitted
  9. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  10. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Once light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
  2. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Spoon the batter into your tart pan or springform pan and smooth the top. Depending on your pan, you may want to add a little pan spray. Arrange the halved plums, skin side up all over the batter. Spring with lemon juice and cinnamon and sugar.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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