Mon petit madeleine

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I was gifted Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook at the holidays.  After spending several days greedily consuming every page of the hefty tome, I emerged with one question: where to start?  Ever the opportunist, my answer came in the form of shopping.  Specifically, the chance to finally purchase a madeleine pan.

To be honest, while I’ve long wanted to make them, I’d actually eaten a madeleine before I headed off to Sufras to make my purchase.  Luckily,  Sufras has a little cafe and on that day, they had madeleines.  I purchased a few, strictly for research purposes of course.

Like many french treats, the madeleine is an exercise in delayed gratification.  Once the simple ingredients come together, they spend the night in the fridge.  The madeleine pan, coated in butter, spends the night in the freezer.

It’s worth it, I promise.

Each little shell-shaped mold gets a delicate piping of batter.

Et voila!  Gorgeous little tea cakes.

But wait, there’s more.  The original recipe calls for lemon oil.  I happened to be out, but I did have orange oil.   I also had chocolate (really, though, I always have chocolate).  As you’ll discover next week, I already had chocolate and orange on the brain and couldn’t help frosting one-side of each cake with a thin layer of orange infused chocolate.

These are lovely mid-afternoon with a cup of espresso or strong tea.

Thomas Keller, consider this fair warning.  I’m just getting started with you.


I was in the mood for a little Harry.

Orange and Bittersweet Chocolate Madeleines 

adapted slightly from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel

Note–this recipe is really made for utilizing weight-based measurements.  A kitchen scale will make this 1,000 easier.


  • 1/4 C + 3 1/2 TBS (68 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 TSP (2.2 g) baking powder
  • 1/4 TSP (.6 g) Kosher salt
  • 1/4C+ 1 TBS (83 g) eggs (note–using extra large eggs this was almost exactly 2 eggs)
  • 1/4 C + 1 1/4 TSP (55 g) granulated sugar (note–I used superfine)
  • 2.3 Ounces (66 g) unsalted butter at room temp plus more for the pan
  • 2 TSP (9 g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 TSP (9 g) clover honey
  • 1 to 2 drops orange oil
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 12 mold madeleine pan


  1. Sift flour and baking powder together into a medium bowl.  Whisk-in salt.
  2. Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Mix on medium speed for about 60 seconds.
  3. Increase the speed to high and whip for about 4 minutes until the batter lightens in color and doubles in volume.
  4. While whisking, heat butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar.  Remove from heat.
  5. Remove bowl from the mixer and fold in remaining dry ingredients until just combined.
  6. Pour warm butter mixture over the batter and add orange oil.  Fold until incorporated and batter is smooth.
  7. Cover and allow to rest in fridge over night.  Brush pan with melted butter and place in freezer.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Transfer the batter into a pastry bag or ziplock and snip a corner so that the opening is just over 1/2 inch.
  10. Pipe batter into molds.  Tap the bottom of the pan against the work surface to smooth the tops.
  11. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes until the tops are lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  12. Immediately un-mold and place on a cooling rack.
  13. Once cake are completely cool, melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
  14. Using an off-set knife, gently spread a thin layer of melted chocolate on non-etched sides of cakes.  Allow to harden.


Nope, Germany does not have palm trees

I recently learned that TD is a fan of german chocolate cake.   That got the wheels turning.  And, in true pink-peppercorn style I thought; ‘he says he likes german chocolate cake, how about if I make deconstructed german chocolate brownies.’  In my defense, I discovered his affinity because he chose german chocolate cake ice cream at Baskin Robbins.  So…I learned about one thing from another thing and then made something else entirely.  Sounds about normal.

It wasn’t until I was making the dulce de leche that it struck me as odd that something from Germany included coconut as an ingredient.

Now, I’ve never been to Germany, but, I am fairly certain the Bavarian Forest is not home to palm trees.  So, no German coconuts.  Which begs the question–how did the German chocolate cake get its coconut?

The answer?  It didn’t.

The name is actually a bastardization of a recipe that utilized a chocolate by Bakers Chocolate called German’s (after the man who created it).  The original cake (at least according to every source I could find) was created by a Dallas housewife in 1957 and was called German’s Chocolate Cake.  This confection calls a milk-chocolate cake its base and is filled and topped with a pecan, coconut and caramel icing.  In addition to coconut my nod to the original uses dulce de leche and walnuts.  Because, that’s the beauty of baking.

A note on the dulce de leche.  You can buy it if you want.  Even my local understocked grocery store (you know, that one without the mushrooms) carries dulce de leche.  It just happens to cost about $10 a jar.  Do your wallet a favor.  Buy a $1.50 can of sweetened-condensed milk and follow one of the two recipes listed below.  Or, better yet, send me $10 and I’ll make the dulce de leche for you :).

If you like this you might like these

Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche Brownies


The Lads.  I’ll explain later

German Chocolate Brownies


  • 12 ounces chopped milk chocolate
  • .5 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1.5  C sugar
  • scant 1/8 C high quality cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1 C (or more to taste) shredded coconut
  • 1 C mini bitter or semi sweet chocolate bits
  • 1 1/2 C dulce de leche (store bought or make your own here or here)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 9X13 pan with parchment and butter entire pan
  2. Using a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt butter on low.
  3. Once butter is melted, add chopped milk chocolate, remove from heat and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk chocolate and butter until smooth.   Allow to cool to room temp.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa and salt.
  6. Whisk-in eggs one-at-a-time, combining fully between each.
  7. Whisk-in milk chocolate mixture.
  8. Gently fold-in flour until just combined.  Fold-in walnuts, chocolate bits and coconut.  Transfer to prepared pan.
  9. Using a spoon, add dollops of dulce de leche at regular intervals (3 rows of 5 dollups should do you). Run a skewer through the caramel and batter to distribute.
  10. Bake for 34-45 minutes or until an inserted tester or toothpick comes out with moist crumbs when inserted.



Yes Please!

During the holidays I was somehow lucky enough to receive not one but two Bouchon Bakery cookbooks as gifts.  Alas, you’ll have to wait for a report on my adventures with Bouchon for another day.  Today we’re visiting what I traded the second Bouchon cookbook for: Jerusalem.  I’ve had my eye on this beautifully photographed and narrated cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi since it popped onto the scene last October.  I’ve long been intrigued by  cuisines that cross boundaries as a result of geographic and cultural proximity.  For me, there has also always been a deep stirring for this part of the world, a sort of calling of some memory from generations ago.  Most likely I’ve romanticized the idea, but there is a part of me that, despite a complete lack of hereditary evidence, believes this is where I started.

Genetics notwithstanding, it should be no surprise that I started the book with the sweets section. Specifically, a gorgeous pair of chocolate krantz cakes.  While the name was new to me, I’ve long been familiar with this particular delicacy in the form of babka.  Nearly identical in recipe, babka is the  Eastern European Jewish name for Israeli Jewish krantz cake.

Perhaps the exact opposite of a quick bread, krantz cake takes a day or so but is incredibly satisfying to make.

Yeast dough is topped with chocolate, pecans and sugar and rolled into a thick cigar. I apologize for the awful picture but…but the roll needed to be shown.

Then the real fun begins.  The roulade is split down the middle longways.

And twisted into a pretty braid.

One last proofing gives the dough a little volume.

This is one of those recipes that smells ridiculously delicious while in the oven.

Out of the oven you’ll wonder; ‘holy smokes, did I just make this?’  Oh, but there is more.  The piece de resistance is a thorough drenching of the still warm cake with simple syrup.  Now, you’ll ask yourself, ‘really, is this last step necessary on top of such obvious decadence.’  Yes, it is.

Quick recipes have a serious place in my heart.  In fact, I consider myself the queen of the brownie (at least in my own little kingdom of TD and a couple of Kitchen Gods).  But, this recipe was an absolute pleasure to make with an outcome equal to the time.


Depeche Mode.  I know right?

Chocolate Krantz Cakes

from Jersualem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Smi Tamimi, Ten Speed Press



  • 4 1/2 C (530 grams) all purpose flour plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 C (100 grams) superfine sugar
  • 2 tsp fast-rising active dry yeast
  • grated zest of one small lemon
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 C (120 ml water)
  • rounded 1/4tsp salt
  • 2/3 C (150 grams) unsalted butter at room temp. cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • sunflower oil for greasing


  • scant 1/2 C (50 grams) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/3 C (30 grams) best quality cocoa powder
  • 4 1/2 ounces (130 grams) good quality dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 C (120 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 C (100 grams) pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 TBS superfine sugar

SYRUP (enough to cover both cakes)

  • 2/3 C (160 ml) water
  • 1 1/4 C (260 grams) superfine sugar



  1. Place the flour, sugar, yeast and lemon zest in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low for 1 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs and water and mix on low speed for a few second, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes, until the dough comes together.
  3. Add the salte and then start adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, mixing until it is incorporated into the dough. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is completely smooth, elastic and shiny.  During the mixing, scrape-down the sides of the bowl a few times and throw a small amount of flour onto the sides so that all of the dough leaves them.
  4. Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with sunflower oil, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least half-a-day (overnight is best).
  5. Grease two 2 1/4 lb loaf pans (9X4 inches) with some sunflower oil and line the bottom of each pan with a piece of parchment paper.
  6. Divide the dough in half and keep one-half covered in the fridge.
  7. Make the filling by mixing together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate and butter into a spreadable paste.
  8. Roll-out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring 15X11 inches.  Trim the sides to make them even.
  9. Use an offset spatula to spread half the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leaving 3/4 inch border all around. Sprinkle half the pecans on top of the chocolate, then sprinkle with half the superfine sugar.
  10. Brush a little bit of water along the long end furthest away from you.
  11. Use both hands to roll-up the rectangle like a roulade, starting from the long side that is closest to you.  Be sure to roll tightly.
  12. Press to seal the dampened end onto the roulade and then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect, thick cigar.  Rest the cigar on its seam.
  13. Trim about 3/4 inch off both ends of the cigar with a serrated knife.
  14. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing on the seamm.
  15. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half and then lift the right half over the left half.  Repeat the process, but this time lift the left half over the right.
  16. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top.
  17. Carefully lift the dough into a loaf pan.
  18. Cover the pan with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours.  The cake will rise by 10-20 percent.
  19. Repeat with second ball of dough.
  20. Preheat oven to 374 degrees.
  21. Remove the tea towels, place the cakes on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  22. While the cakes are in the oven, make the syrup.
  23. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan, place over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  24. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from te heat and leave to cool down.
  25. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush all of the syrup over them.  Use up all the syrup.
  26. Allow cakes to cool until just warm, then remove from the pans and let cool completely before serving.