Making Madeleines

There are a lot of recipes and tips on how to make these delightful sponge cake cookies. It can be a bit overwhelming. But our first attempt at making Madeleines wasn’t so bad. It takes some prep and some patience but the results are delicious. We did it and so can you.

After pouring over a few recipes I finally settled on one from Serious Eats by Lauren Weisenthal. I found the directions to be straightforward and we loved the detailed slideshow that made following along easy for P.

We’re calling this a Daring Dragonfly bake because while it takes only few pantry staples it really is particular and requires patience and technique. We definitely made yummy madeleines but they lacked the definitive hump and they were not as spongy as we would like. Even while they weren’t perfect they were definitely worth the effort and something we will bake again.

Making MADs with your Little Baker

Prep is key in this bake. I planned ahead to have room temperature eggs and the butter melted and cooled. Then I measured all the ingredients while P and J played together. We also read a story about our favorite the little french girl to get in the spirit.

I think the most important step to be aware of is folding in the flour and melted butter. As I’ve read, and experienced, its very easy to over-mix. At 5 years old P was able to help with a lot. Little bakers might be able to:

  • Rub the vanilla bean into the sugar (we did not have vanilla bean so we used a 1/2 teaspoon of extract);
  • Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, check for shells and then add them to the sugar. (I cracked the eggs this time because P is going through an anti-egg cracking phase.)
  • Take turns mixing the butter and sugar for several minutes.
  • Add the flour and melted butter while a grown up folds gently with a spatula.
  • Prepare the baking pan by spreading butter in the shells and sprinkling on the sugar.
  • Help fill the tins with dough. As I read many places, the filling does not need to be perfectly spread out. It will work itself out in the oven!

How We Baked It

You can find the Serious Eats recipe we used here: Vanilla Bean Madeleine Recipe

Here’s the gallery of the techniques used in making Madeleines. P really loved following along with these pictures: Sweet Technique: How to Make Madeleines.

Brother woke up just as they were coming out of the oven in time for our tea party.

Happy Baking!

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Naples Style Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza night is a regular occurrence in our house. We do traditional pan pizza and have mastered our own version of Chicago deep dish. This was our first time making Naples style dough. It took us two days but it was completely worth the effort.

Utilizing a hot cast iron skillet and your broiler you can create your own puffy, slightly chewy and a little bit charred pizza crust. I turned to Serious Eats for a recipe and used their Hacker-Free Neapolitan Pizza For a Home Kitchen Recipe.

If you want the results of a Neapolitan pizza follow the direction exactly and it’s perfect. However, I would modify the directions only slightly to make it more kid-friendly in the preparation. I didn’t want my little baker near a hot cast iron skillet fresh off the broiler. So instead she created her pizzas on a regular pizza pan. Then I put hers in the oven on broil at 550 F (287 C). It worked well and was absolutely delicious. In a taste test comparison, the pizzas following the recipe’s instructions exactly had a slightly better crust. However for the sake of involving your little baker in topping the pizza, not preheating the pan still makes a darn good pizza.

The recipe calls for instant yeast but we used active yeast. I took 2 ounces of water used to activate the yeast out of the 12 ounces of water going into the dough.

We kneaded the dough by hand for 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it doesn’t break when pulled and pops back up when poked. The dough needs to rise for 8 up to 72 hours. We got 5 pizza crusts out of the dough but probably would have gotten 6 if we had been more precise in weighing the dough when we divided it.

Baking tips by age

2-4 years: Part 1: They can help make the dough. If you have a kitchen scale this is a good time to use it. If you use active yeast like we did, it’s fun to watch the yeast rise and grow. After we formed the dough it had to rest for 10 minutes. During this time we watched this video about kneading the dough. They can do the poke and pull test after you’ve kneaded the dough for 10 minutes to make sure it’s ready. Part 2: Have them flour the dough before you stretch it. It should be about 10 inches (24 cm). Of course toppings the pizzas is fun for everyone.

5-7 years: Part 1: Have them help weight or measured the ingredients. They can also help prepare the yeast if using active yeast. After we formed the dough it had to rest for 10 minutes. During this time we watched this video about kneading the dough. They can definitely help knead the dough but expect to take turns. This process takes about 10 minutes. They can do the poke and pull test to make sure it’s ready. Part 2: After the dough has risen 8 hours or up to 72 have them help divide the dough into 6 balls about 6 ounces each. Draw a line on the dough and they can divide it using a straight edge like a bench scrapper. They can help flour and spread the dough. It should be about 10 inches (24 cm). And the moment they’ve been waiting for, they can add the toppings to the pizza.

How we baked it

And finally…

The recipe according to Penny.

Favorite part: stretching the dough
Least favorite part: smelling the stinky yeast
Fun fact: the first ever pizza is thought to have been made in Naples, Italy.

If you make a Naples style pizza dough too let us know how it goes! Share your baking with us at #junebugbakerslove

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