Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Julia!


Today, August 15th would have been Julia Child's 97th birthday. The contributions that she brought to cooking in America are so vast that they cannot be contained within this post. In fact, with the release of the movie Julie & Julia, and the new found, soaring popularity of her cookbooks, there doesn't seem to be a space large enough to talk about her.

I would like to think that Julia Child would love the resurgence in her cookbooks and in making wonderful meals at home. I know that as soon as I came home from seeing the movie, I grabbed my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and found the recipe for her Boeuf Bourgignon, vowing to make it the first chance I get.

So in honor of Julia, I thought it would be appropriate to make a little something special. What better way than to make Madeleine's. That delicious soft French scallop shaped cookie, that according to Marcel Proust in his literary masterpiece Remembrance of Things Past "launched a thousand memories."

Although there are only a few ingredients, it is the execution of this particular recipe that makes it a little more unique than some others I've come across. This recipe requires the whipping of the eggs and sugar until it doubles in volume, is nearly white and when the beater is lifted a thick ribbon is formed. Also, take care when folding the dry ingredients into the egg mixture as to not deflate.

These cookies are light with a delicate crumb. Traditionally they should be served with tea. But as for me, I will enjoy mine with a latte!




Bon App├ętit
Shannon


P.S.
I have listed out Julia Child's books and DVD's on the Stuff I like on Amazon link. It is under "Everything Julia".




Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3 large eggs, room temp.
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract




Melt butter and allow to cool while you make the batter.
In a small bowl place the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until well blended.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Sift a small amount of flour over the egg mixture and, using a large rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the beaten eggs to lighten it. Sift the rest of the flour over the egg mixture and fold in being sure not to over mix or the batter will deflate.

Whisk a small amount of the egg mixture into the melted butter, then fold in the cooled melted butter in three additions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or several hours, until slightly firm.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Generously butter two 12-mold Madeleine pans (I like the non-stick type). Dust the molds with flour and shake out excess. Make sure the pans are well greased or the Madeleine's will stick and be hard to remove.

Drop a generous tablespoonful of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center. This will result in the classic "humped" appearance of the Madeleine's.

Bake the Madeleine's for 11-13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched. Do not over bake these cookies or they will be dry.

Remove the pans from the oven and twist the pan to release the Madeleine's. Transfer cookies, smooth side down to wire racks to cool. The Madeleine's are best served the same day but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or frozen, well wrapped for up to 1 month.

Note: If you make the miniature Madeleine's, reduce the baking time to about 7-9 minutes.

Yield: 24 3-inch cookies

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