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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Berry Cream Tarts

There’s something insanely exciting to my kids about being able to build their own meal. They light up at any chance to help in the kitchen when it involves assembly. These berry cream tarts fit perfectly into that category. The not-too-sweet cream cheese and mascarpone cream balances the buttery graham cracker crust. Top it with berries and you can have a perfect treat for a (virtual) tea party or summer evening.

Baking tips by age

2-4 years can help:

  • Smash the graham crackers into little pieces using their hands or a toy hammer.
  • Help mix the graham cracker mixture and scoop into the muffin tins.
  • Help cut strawberries with toddler safe kitchen knives.
  • Topping the tarts with cream and fruit.

5-7 years:

  • Smash the graham crackers into little pieces using their hands or a toy hammer.
  • Measure and mix ingredients to make crust, they might use their hands to break up any pieces bigger than a penny.
  • Scoop crust evenly into muffin pan.
  • Cut strawberries with toddler safe kitchen knives.
  • Top tarts with cream and fruit.

How we baked it

Berry Cream Tarts

20 minutes prep | 10 minutes bake + assembly time
Makes about 12 tarts in muffin tin*
Crust adapted from “Magic Cookie Bars” recipe by Samantha Seneviratne

Ingredients

Crust
6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled
20 graham crackers, about 2 3/4 cup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Cream Topping
8 oz cream cheese softened
2 oz mascarpone
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Strawberries cut into pieces
Blueberries

Directions

  1. First prepare the crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
  2. Spray or butter muffin tin.
  3. Crumble graham crackers by hand or in food processor until only small pieces remain.
  4. Add sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to incorporate.
  5. Add butter and egg.
  6. Mix well until the graham crackers are moist and small clusters begin to form.
  7. Divide into cupcake tin and spread, pressing firmly against the bottom and sides. Form a thin layer of crust around the mold, tarts will rise while baking.
  8. Bake tarts for 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool completely before removing.
  9. While tart crusts are baking make the cream topping and prepare fruit.
  10. Hull and half strawberries and cut into small pieces.
  11. Combine cream cheese and mascarpone in bowl and mix on low with an electric mixer.
  12. Gradually add heavy cream and increase speed to medium until the mixture begins to thicken.
  13. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until fluffy and whipped.
  14. Once tarts are cooled remove from muffin tin and top with a scoop of cream and berries.

Notes

Store ingredients in the refrigerator to assemble later. Crust will also fit in a 13×9 inch baking pan and make about 15 bars.

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S’more Crispy Treats

This has been the summer of s’mores for us. With more evenings at home backyard campfires have been a reoccurring event. So with plenty of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows in the pantry we wanted to make something tasty – minus the campfire.

We started with the amazing salted brown butter rice crispy treats from Smitten Kitchen. Which has easily become my go-to recipe for the most deliciously refined rice crispy treats. Then we added some graham cracker pieces and a Nutella drizzle to top off a satisfying summer treat.

This is a simple recipe that doesn’t take long, however the amount of time you need to spend over the stove (melting marshmallows and chocolate) makes it tricky for younger bakers. Penny and I baked rice crispy treats when she was 3 and it was a little hectic because of the timing with the brown butter. Two years later, with the addition of the graham crackers and chocolate drizzle, she had more to be involved with. She and Jack were able to measured the cereal and smashed the grahams while I melted the butter and marshmallows.

Baking Tips by age

2-4 years: They can help smash the graham crackers and measure out the cereal. To help with the chocolate drizzle they might scoop the Nutella and pour the cream into the sauce pan.

5-7 years: They can help prepare the ingredients by smashing graham crackers and measuring out the cereal. After the butter and marshmallows are melted, your little baker can add the cereal, graham crackers and salt to the pot. You might tied a kitchen towel around the pot to be sure they don’t accidentally touch it because it will still be warm. They can measure and pour ingredients for the Nutella drizzle. Once you transfer the chocolate out of the sauce pan, they can help drizzle it on the rice crispy treats.

How we baked it

S’more Crispy Treats

About 16 bars in 9×13 inch cake pan
Total time: 30 minutes
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
5 cups rice crispy cereal
1 cup graham cracker pieces (about 5 crackers)
10 oz marshmallows
1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate topping
1/2 cup Nutella chocolate
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Break graham crackers into small pieces and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in large pot over medium-low heat. The butter should melt and bubble, turn a clear golden color and then start to brown. This process adds a pretty delicious nutty flavor. I got the trick from @smittenkitchen and have never looked back!
  3. Remove butter from heat as soon as it’s browned and add the marshmallows.
  4. Mix until marshmallows are melted and smooth. The pot should be hot enough but if not return it to low heat until marshmallows melt.
  5. Add the cereal, graham crackers and salt to the pot.
  6. Mix until well coated and spread into a lined or buttered cake pan.
  7. To make Nutella drizzle add 1/2 cup of Nutella and 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream to small sauce pan and melt over medium low heat.
  8. Once Nutella is smooth drizzle over rice crispy treats.
  9. Cool and cut into squares.

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Ube Crinkle Cookies

Updated 12/21/2020 with trick to make crinkles more pronounced. See recipe below.

Penny loves all things purple. So being able to bake a purple dessert made her very happy. My husband introduced me to ube desserts years ago but this was the first one I’ve baked. And it was a great place to start! These cookies are soft, fluffy and rich with the delicious ube flavor.

If you don’t know, ube is a purple yam that is commonly used in Filipino baking. It tastes sweet with strong vanilla flavor and mild nutty undertones. It’s sometimes mistaken for Taro but the two are not the same. Taro is a root with a much lighter color and less sweet flavor.

From start to finish these cookies only take about 45 minutes. We got our ube jam and extract online but you can find them at your local Asian market. Make sure to roll the dough really well into the powdered sugar to get a good coating. We ended up sprinkling some extra powdered sugar on top after they came out of the oven because we didn’t coat them enough. Also, plan for the dough to chill. We cleaned up and preheated the oven while the dough was in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Bake tips by Age

2-4 years: Prep is really easy for this recipe. Let your little baker add and stir the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) while you get everything else together. They can’t over-stir it! Once everything is prepped, they will have fun adding measured ingredients, watching the dough change to a deep purple color, and rolling the dough in the powdered sugar. Explain as you go which ingredients are being added and their measurements. Reading the recipe aloud is also helpful to keep them engaged.

5-7 years: Let them help with prepping all the ingredients in small containers. We use plastic takeout containers or kid bowls. If they aren’t ready to measure, they might help fetch and return the ingredients to the pantry. We find it helpful to always put away each ingredient after we’ve measured what we need. It makes the clean up at the end less overwhelming. Your little baker will have fun adding ingredients and helping cream the butter and sugars. Sometimes when the electric mixer gets too heavy to hold, P scrapes down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula in between adding ingredients. When it came time to form the cookies, I scooped and P shaped the balls and rolled them into the powder sugar.

How we baked it

Ube Crinkle Cookies

2 dozen cookies
Prep time: 30 minutes | Bake time: 12-15 | Total time: 45 minutes
Recipe adapted slightly from Keeping it Relle

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup ube halaya (jam)
1 teaspoon ube extract

Crinkle Coating

1 cup granulated sugar
1-2 cups powder sugar

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add room temperature butter and both sugars to a large bowl. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add egg and beat until combined.
  4. Add ube jam and ube extract to the bowl and beat until well combined.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. This means stop mixing when you can no longer see the flour and the dough is purple. Don’t over mix it! 🙂
  6. Chill dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
  8. Prepare cookie sheets with either nonstick spray or parchment paper.
  9. Using a tablespoon scoop dough into balls.
  10. Roll the balls in granulated sugar and then powder sugar and cover them completely.
  11. Place balls on cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on rack.

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Peach Streusel Muffins

Peach season is here! Penny had the idea to bake peach cupcakes. I was thinking more along the lines of a cobbler. So we agreed on these Peach Streusel Muffins.

The muffins are super moist and the cinnamon sugar crumble is a perfect match for the peaches. Top it off with a vanilla glaze and you have a satisfying summer breakfast or tea time treat. We also added nutmeg and some fresh garden basil to our streusel.

Between the crumble topping, muffin batter and vanilla glaze this was one of the more involved bakes we’ve done together. But with some prep on my part, Penny stayed involved through the end. Here’s what we did.

Baking tips by age

2-4 years: Measure out the ingredients for the muffin batter in small bowls. If you have kid safe knives, your little baker might help dice the peaches that you’ve sliced. If not, go ahead and cut up the peaches ahead of time. At this age I would mix up the streusel before your little baker gets involved. Aside from the usual combining and mixing, they can help scoop batter into the tins and place the crumble topping. Using a pastry bag and small pipping tip makes drizzling the glaze less messy and more fun.

5-7 years: If you have kid safe knives, let them cut the peaches while you prep ingredients. Once you’ve melted and cooled the butter, they might try adding the ingredients to the crumble on their own. Aside from combining and mixing ingredients, they can practice cracking the eggs in a separate bowl. Finish it off by filling the muffin tins, placing the crumble topping and, Penny’s favorite part, “decorating” the muffins using a pastry bag.

how we baked it

These muffins go perfectly well with a cup of tea. Penny has been on a kick with peppermint tea since the holidays and I enjoy my earl grey. Let us know what you think!

Bugs and kisses,

June Bug Bakers

Peach Streusel Muffins

Cook time: 1 hour (25 minutes active)
1 dozen muffins. Recipe adapted slightly from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

Streusel

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Muffin Batter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1 and 1/2 cups chopped peaches (3 peaches) You can use chopped frozen peaches do not thaw.

Vanilla Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the streusel topping. Combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and melted butter. Gradually stir in flour using a rubber spatula. Stir in chopped basil. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C). Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  3. Make the muffin batter. In a medium bowl beat the butter on high until smooth and creamy. About 1 minute.
  4. Add both sugars and beat until creamed. About 2 minutes.
  5. Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for 1 minute to incorporate and then beat on high until the mixture is a uniform texture. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients including flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, all-spice, and salt.
  7. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and slowly mix.
  8. Add the milk and gently whisk until combined and few lumps remain.
  9. Fold in the peaches with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  10. Spoon muffin batter into tin, filling each to the top.
  11. Press a handful of crumb topping on each muffin.
  12. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 F (218 C) then lower the oven temperature to 350 F (177 C) and continue to bake for 15 -20 more minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  13. While muffins are baking make the glaze by whisking all ingredients together.
  14. Drizzle over warm muffins.

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