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recipe goodness :: grandma dilaura’s lemon madeleines

 

Grandma's Lemon Madeleines

Grandma’s Madeleines

Santa called, he wants a new kind of cookie this year. Yes, we all love sugar cutouts and peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses —  don’t get me wrong, I love the tradition of knowing those festive favorites will be stacked high on the Christmas table too. But this year everything old is new again, so I’m rethinking the cookie plate.

These lemony Madeleines weren’t necessarily a Christmas tradition in our house, but they were ceremoniously revealed after many Sunday dinners at Grandma’s. After a heaping bowl of gnocchi or a big Sunday roast, she’d shuffle over to her cookie tins {which were never empty} and arrange these delicate little shell-shaped cookies {which might as well be referred to as mini cakes for their delicate sponge} on a plate to await the blessing of decorative powdered sugar. They were divine. Pretty, perfect little pillows of lemony goodness. These will always remind me of my grandma and have become a new tradition in my own kitchen — parting gifts for dinner guests or just comforting treats to accompany a steaming cup of weekend coffee. And so for something that evokes those cherished memories, it seems only fitting that they join the joyous Christmas cookie tray. Enjoy!

Madeleine Tray

Madeleine Tray

Grandma DiLaura Lemon Madeleines

Makes 36 Large or 48 Mini | 350°

3/4 Cup Butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for brushing pans
3 Large Eggs
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1.25 Cups Cake or All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/3 Cup Shredded Coconut (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, mixer on high, beat eggs until light.
  2. Gradually add vanilla and sugar and continue beating until volume has increased about 4x and is pale and fluffy. Add melted butter.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together and fold with spatula into mixture.
  4. Fold lemon zest and/or coconut.
  5. Brush Madeleine molds with melted butter and scoop mixture into each shell filling about halfway —  careful not to overfill as they will rise like a cake.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes for Large Madeleines and 6-8 minutes for Mini Madeleine trays until cake is firm to the touch and light gold in color.
  7. Remove from trays and let cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
  8. Right before serving sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Mini Madeleines

Mini Madeleines

Other Grandma Favorites:
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake

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Wheat Don’t Need You Delivers a Triple Thrill Gluten-Free Treat

Wheat Don't Need You Triple Thrill Gluten Free Goodness

A good friend was recently diagnosed with celiac disease, which means she has an allergy to gluten. No more pizza, no more pasta, no more double chocolate cake. Tragic! or so you would think. She has certainly had to make changes to her diet, but as the awareness of such allergies has increased, so has the store shelf space, introducing new products that cater to gluten-free diets.

So when I was approached by a cleverly named gluten free bakery,Wheat Don’t Need You, to try a new product called the Triple Thrill I requested a few treats to share and evaluate with the gluten-free expert. I was curious how it would meet her “I miss good dessert” standards and mine. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the package to find a bar cookie that I wanted to bite into immediately. Covered in creamy caramel, rich chocolate and pecans, the cookie is rolled in lightly toasted gluten-free oats. Apparently truly gluten-free oats are hard to come by due to cross-contamination from wheat, rye or barley at processing plants, so the addition of these certified oats received high praise at our gluten conscious table. But from someone who doesn’t have to be concerned with whether or not my food has gluten in it, I too enjoyed the Triple Thrill. I’m more of a savory person, so I loved the addition of the oats and pecans. And in my book anything with ooey gooey caramel is a winner. My only request, a few sprinkles of sea salt would have really put this bar over the top to counterbalance the sweetness and provide a quadruple thrill. Love to get a crunch of that unexpectedly delightful salt crystal on something sweet — but that’s just me. If you know someone who has a gluten allergy, give these treats a try and see if you can’t taste the difference. The Wheat Don’t Need You operation is small right now, but sometimes the best things come out of small kitchens.

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Hands On With Giada De Laurentiis at the Food Network NYCWFF Demo

Giada de Laurentiis Greets the Audience with a Big Smile

Following Alton Brown’s “opening act” for the New York City Wine & Food Festival demos, Giada De Laurentiis was warmly welcomed by longtime friend and Food & Wine Editor, Dana Cowin. With her husband and a houseful of fans in the audience, she greeted the crowd with her big…smile. People actually asked me if her head was in fact as big as it seems on TV, so let me answer that question. It’s not so much that she has a big head, but that she has a teeny tiny body. How a woman who makes a living cooking and eating — mostly Italian food — can stay so skinny is beyond me! But I digress.

Giada couldn’t have been more charming or likeable and took a totally hands-on, participatory approach to her demo. Enter the lucky husband and wife team selected from halfway back in the seats to come on stage and help Giada cook Smashed Potatoes. I think the wife actually claimed her husband was the cook in the family, just so he could come up and meet her in person. Giada left them to follow a few simple steps {start with some fingerlings, boil ’til tender, smash with your hand, brown in a pan with a little olive oil & garlic and then toss in a lemon-parsley vinaigrette. Easy!} while she took questions from the audience.

Giada De Laurentiis Knows Her Audience

Husband and Wife Team Make Smashed Potatoes for Giada

The Infamous Tasting Bite from Giada

With her 2 1/2 year old daughter, Jade, to look after, Giada’s new cookbook is inspired by making good food, faster — relying a little more on good pantry items that are always on hand to cook a meal. So it was only appropriate that for her second dish, she invited two pint-sized friends on stage to help prepare her sweet & sour pork chops.

 

Giada's Little Helpers

Tiny fingers sure can be generous with the salt! It’s a good thing this was all for show and no one was actually eating these chops!

The Kids Were Very Generous with the Seasoning

Giada’s Sweet & Sour Pork Chops

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins
Serves 4

4 Boneless Pork Chops
Salt and Pepper to Taste

1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Balsamic Vineagar
3 sprigs of Rosemary
1 bunch Scallions, diced

Add the honey, balsamic, rosemary and scallions to a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook pork chops 4 minutes on one side and 3-5 minutes on the other side, or until slightly pink in the center. Remove from heat, add to a plate and pour sweet & sour sauce over top.

With mere seconds left on the clock for her demo, Giada still made time to call up another set of eager helpers to whip up the world’s fastest batch of double chocolate cookies. It was all for show, but the benefit of being on set is the {voila} already made finished product. And the benefit of sitting in the front row, is snagging one as the helpers return to their seats with a full plate of chocolate-y goodness. For all you chocolate bakers out there, I asked Giada what her preferred  chocolate to bake with is and she said Ghirardelli is the best {but Giada, you have to get the pronunciation correct, it’s Gear-ar-delly with a hard G like SpaGHetti!}

Giada's Helpers Whipping Up Double Chocolate Cookies

The Benefits of the Front Row

Another tasty New York City Wine & Food Festival event. Everyone benefits from the up-close access to some of Food Network’s biggest stars. Food Bank for New York City, Share Our Strength, the fans and my readers!

Want Another Bite?
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning
New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats

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