Monday, 12 June 2017

Baking Days {Madeleines}

Something I've noticed about myself is that every so often I really need some creative time. It's become where I find myself getting stressed if I don't get five minutes to write or bake or just sew something. It's my little bit of escapism and helps my mind to switch off from trying to do too many things at once. Baking is something I've done a lot since my teens and even more since having children; I think I just love how easy it is to get that feeling of satisfaction from creating something. Especially when its something other people can enjoy. Everyone loves cake. 
People often ask me where I find the time but in truth it's not that I'm any less busy than any other mum, I just make time; usually with one in a highchair playing with pans and spoons and one "helping" stood on a stool at the side of me. One thing I've discovered is that if you love doing something you'll always find time to do it.
I- like a million other people- spend probably too much time trawling through pinterest for new ideas of which some are permanently stored in my brain until I have tried them (cloud bread anyone?) but some days I resort to grabbing my favourite actual cookbooks off my shelf and get inspired old school style. My two best books are Nigella Lawson's Feast and Kitchen. They are my absolute favourites that I've yet to have a bad recipe out of. I got both on different birthdays quite a few years ago- Feast when I was working in a kitchen and learning to bake properly. The lady I worked with was a really traditional cook and what she didn't share with me while we were working I watched her do. Every day she would bake a selection of cakes from scratch for afternoon tea; Eclairs, Victoria Sponges, Scones, all with fresh cream and iced by hand. She made it look extremely easy but I understand now it was down to many years experience!
I was often put in charge of the kitchen and I think that's when I really started to enjoy cooking. Having children has definitely made me much more passionate about what I cook for them and getting them involved. I don't mind them helping me in the kitchen at all - some days it is stressful but it's only mess after all (says me!!) and it's such a valuable skill for them to learn (a good mantra for when you're cleaning cake mixture off the walls...)
I decided this week to do some baking with both boys in tow; The little guy got set on some biscuit dough and I set about looking for something sweet that didn't require too many ingredients !
A couple of summers ago I was gifted a gorgeous set of pans by Denby, one of which was a Madeleine Tin. I love the look of them but I've always shied away from baking them as I assumed they were complicated, and that I'd end up overfilling those tiny little shells with too much mixture. After having a look I found they aren't actually complicated at all, just cakes with their ingredients in a different order. They are such an enjoyable bake as they look gorgeous straight away with their pretty scalloped edges; the tin worked perfectly without any casualties sticking to the tray.
I'd never had a home baked Madeleine before and after these I don't think I'd bother with shop bought ones again. You just can't beat that buttery taste and sweet crust on the outside. If you haven't given these a go before they really are a must.
After clearing up flour from every surface (thanks T) I went all fancy and got my favourite teacup out for high tea with my lovely warm Madeleine's. The rest of the house was in chaos but you've got to create your own miniature oasis of peace every now and then...!
I'll pop the recipe below if you find yourself with some time to spare to whip up some of these dainty treats; I have adapted the recipe slightly using Self Raising flour and Vanilla instead of Lemon as the traditional recipe calls for. Madeleine tins are pretty easy to find in any shop that sells baking supplies and they're relatively inexpensive. I'm sure once you've made them once, you'll want to make them again.

Madeleines

Ingredients

2 x Eggs
100g Self Raising Flour
125g Icing Sugar
125g Butter, melted and cooled
2 Tsp Vanilla Essence

Method

Pre heat your oven to gas mark 4/ 200C/ 400F and grease the tray with a little melted butter.

Whisk together eggs and sugar until frothy then add vanilla; whisk in icing sugar until thick and smooth.
Sift the flour and fold in gradually before folding in the melted butter.
Spoon the mixture into the shells filling them 3/4 full, don't over fill them!
Bake for around 10-12 minutes and cool slightly before removing.
Dust with icing to serve or anyway you like!



Have you managed to find some creative space this week?











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