For a mere couple of days last week, it did feel like Fall, cool and crisp, under a cloudless blue sky, and then "pouf" we were back to temperatures of 75F and higher....No wonder the leaves don't change colors and fall and winter fashion is always on sale around our parts! Well, as you may know, even after many years in South Carolina, I still long for the temperate climate of France, yes, even the rain and the grey winters. I envy people up north for their nippy cold mornings and their weekends shoveling snow... and feel free to smirk at me : "let's trade places for a few weeks and that might cure your problem Mrs. Tartelette"...I know, I know..."the grass is always greener on the other side". In the meantime, I am left to pretending it is finally chilly outside and one way to do that is by persevering in making fall inspired desserts even with the grill working overtime for dinner.
I was organizing (well, at least I was trying to) my pile(s) of "must-try" recipes, when I came across one called "Coffee Pots" from Alana from Kitchen Parade. I already loved her savory dishes and sides so I figured her desserts would be winners too... and the creams were heaven. I had a bunch of egg yolks left over from a macaron baking session for a bridal shower and the recipe came in very handy as it requires just those, a bit of sugar, coffee and some liqueur. For the coffee, I have the bad habit to leave the coffee machine on as I head out in the morning resulting in triple thick mud by the time I come home in between training sessions. If you don't have access to Tartelette's Mud-So-Thick-Your-Spoon-Stands-Straight-In-It (C's words, not mine), make a good cup of espresso or very strong coffee otherwise the coffee flavor will get lost in the baking process. Why did I name mine Cappuccino Creams? Simply because of the dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon on top...and because B. seemed to respond to the name better and that would help me in not being left to eat the entire thing by myself (darn skinny jeans!).
I love a little cookie or piece of cake with my cream desserts (another reason why I loved the Bostini Cream Pie last month!) and made some really easy but very flavorful dark chocolate madeleines from the Queen of Madeleines herself, Sophie Dudemaine, to go along with the cream. Think deep dark fudgy buttons with a fancy names (oh yeah I love that Glade commercial... "haven't you heard of Gladay?"!!) I wish they'd translate that book in English because it is demystifies the whole "madeleines are difficult cookies" idea that foreign cooks seem to have. The recipes are organized by season, relying on fresh and available produce, with sweet and savory madeleines. Some bakers will use some pretty intricate method to achieve that traditional madeleine bump, and I guess I never really paid attention to that fact, (much like when I made macarons for the first time), and I end up with bumps all over the place following her recipes. I know it may sound blazay or snotty what I just said, ( and believe me it is not my intention) but I firmly believe that a lot of mishaps in the kitchen are the results of unnecessary pressure that home bakers put on themselves. If you know the difficulty and think of it constantly, things won't work as well as if you are aware of it, but shrug it off with a simple "What is the worst that can happen? Fiddo will eat it..." Trust me, baking is not rocket science...or I would not be doing it for a living!!
Cappuccino Creams And Chocolate Madeleines, adapted from Alanna and Sophie Dudemaine:
1 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup triple-strength coffee
5 egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Kahlua
whipped cream and cinnamon (optional)
Combine the milk, half and half and coffee into medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, but do not let it boil. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar until they are pale yellow. Add liqueur and combine well.
A little bit at a time, add scalded milk to yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Arrange five ramekins in 9x13 baking pan and fill with milk mixture. Place pan in oven. Carefully pour very hot tap water (or boiling water) into pan until it reaches about halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake 30 – 45 minutes at 325F until just soft in center. Remove cups from pan, bring to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold and firm. To serve, add a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon to the tops.
Makes 16 cookies
80 gr. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
80 gr. sugar
80 gr. salted butter
15 gr. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Melt the butter in the microwave or over low heat. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and cocoa. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Add the yolks to the flour/cocoa mixture and whisk with a spatula. Break the egg whites with a fork, without making them foam. Add them to the flour/cocoa/egg mixture. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously to incorporate everything.
Butter madeleine molds (I use dark silicone ones), and pour about one tablespoon of batter in each.
Bake at 425F for 4 minutes, the turn the oven down to 375F and bake for another 4 minutes. Let cool slightly and unmold. Repeat with the remaining batter.