For the August-September selection of Cook the Books, Debra from Eliot's Eats invited the group to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Read her invitation and join the fun, if you wish, because you still have more than a month before the deadline. I knew that I had read the book in college for one of my literature classes, but when I read Debra's invitation and she mentioned the Salvador Dalí illustrations for the book, I was excited about re-reading it.
I had seen some of those prints at a museum in San Francisco. And, though we have the largest Dalí collection on the West Coast at a museum here, I've only been once and I don't remember if they have any of those. But I do remember really liking them. My favorite is "The Mad Tea Party"...
I excitedly dug into the book, but within two dozen pages, my enthusiasm had waned. Maybe my patience with nonsense is thinning as I get older. I found this a mind-boggling level of ridiculousness. The story wandered and the eponymous Alice was incredibly annoying. I did not finish the book; I moved on to something more enjoyable. Sorry, Debra!
But, in honor of the Mad Hatter's tea party, I decided to whip up some colorful 'Mad as a Hatter' Madeleines. Funny story: I have always eschewed food coloring, except for naturally derived ones such as in my Parrot Tulip-Hued pasta dough, that was colored with beets and red peppers. I have used some natural food coloring, but learned that red made from beets turns purple when heated and when left in the sun or cooked, other colors completely disappear. The natural food dyes never act the way I anticipate or want.
So, when these lovely bright morsels came out, D suspiciously asked how I made them those colors. "I know those aren't the natural food dyes, Mom. They are too vibrant." I didn't bother ducking the question; I just admitted that I bought regular food dyes. And with that, no one ate them. No. One. Fine.
But they are pretty, aren't they? Actually, they ate the "yellow" ones which were the only natural ones on the platter.
Feel free to skip the food coloring, but do make the madeleines. They are delicious and such a fabulous texture.
Ingredients makes 18 to 20
- 3/4 cup organic butter plus some for greasing pan
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- Also needed: food coloring, if using; madeleine pan
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease, or butter, your madeleine pan and set aside.
Place your butter and sugar in a saucepan and heat, over medium heat, until the butter is melted and the sugar is blended into the butter.
Let the butter-sugar mixture cool for a few minutes, then spoon it into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs and extract. Beat for a full three minutes to incorporate lots of air bubbles into your batter.
Fold in the flour and almond flour with a spatula, taking care not to deflate the batter too much. If you are using food coloring, add in the colors. Then using a truffle scoop, or teaspoon, fill the shell molds with batter until almost full.
Bake till the madeleines puff up and the edges are golden. Mine took between 17 and 19 minutes.
Remove the pans from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 3 to 5 minutes. Unmold. You may be able to tap them out; I used a small spatula to ease them out of the molds onto the cooling racks.
I did also make an 'Eat Me' cake, but I haven't shared that recipe yet. Soon! So that's a wrap for my offering on Alice in Wonderland. I can't wait to see what the other writers make.