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Madelines

Well, this post has sat around as a draft for two years now, so maybe I should finish it…

Anyway. Madelines. Small crunchy-on-the-outside citrusy sponge cakes that are brilliant with a cup of tea in the morning. Yes, crunchy. If you’ve had them and they were soft, they weren’t fresh. They go soft as they go off.

Also, you need a special pan. Yes, you do. You can pour the batter into anything but it won’t be a madeline, the same way it’s a stew instead of a tagine unless it’s made in a tagine or a casserole has to be made in a cassarole or a … you get the idea. It’s one of those named-for-the-dish cooking vessels. For madelines they look like this:

Sorry, no, google I said “madeline¬†pan“…

And you’ll want to have a piping bag.… Read the rest

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Macarons

So the latest thing I’ve tried baking are macarons. Not macaroons, the coconutty biscuit things, but the french almond meringue biscuits with fillings. The ones they fly into Brown Thomas from Laudaree in Paris daily and sell for obscene amounts of money. I figured, if I could make Madeline, why not something else classic and French? How hard could it be?

And the answer is, not very. They’re a little fiddly but ultimately if you can make a meringue and have some patience, macaron are just not as hard as everyone says they are.

There are two or three things you have to do that don’t seem to be written in most of the books mind you, and if you skip those, you get awful results. So here’s my recipe, with notes:

This makes enough macaron biscuit mix to fill one standard large disposable piping bag and that can make up to sixty macaron (120 hulls) if you make them small.… Read the rest

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