Citrus and jasmine madeleines

My madeleine pan had been calling to me for months claiming it was lonely stacked up against the muffin tins.  So, on an early morning stroll through Dorrie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours I found some inspiration in her Earl Grey version.

As much as I love earl grey, its had a lot of air time on this blog and I thought it might be nice to give another tea the spotlight.  Years ago when people in the U.S. started drinking green tea, I did too.  There was just one problem–no matter how many mugfuls I downed, I couldn’t seem to acquire a taste for it.  It was too, well, green for my Western palate.  That is until I discovered Trader Joes jasmine green tea.   Who doesn’t love a tea that smells pretty?

This was a fun recipe to experiment with because Dorrie has you steep the tea in melted butter.  It also directs the baker to strain the tea out of the butter with cheesecloth before incorporating the other ingredients.  However, I liked the texture the tea added and so used a mesh strainer so that some of the leaves were left behind.

Much of the loveliness of jasmine tea lies in its fragrance.  So, I was uncertain that the fragrance would translate into flavor when baked.

I shouldn’t have worried.  The jasmine and citrus zest played together really well to create a subtle and unique flavor to the little cakes.

The only problem is that I that I couldn’t figure out a good compliment to serve these with…what kind of tea does one pair with tea flavored cookies?  Coffee?

Fun with the beast of yeast

Last week’s peanut butter and chocolate treats were so easy I felt the need to make up for it.  While my experience with yeasted doughs lies in the advanced beginner range, I find making bread deeply satisfying.

We spent a couple of weeks on breads in the course I took last summer and, with the exception of the supremely sticky brioche, the instructor insisted we hand kneed everything.  She wasn’t masochistic or even particularly old-school.  From a technique perspective, she thought being able to “feel” the dough was important.

So for this recipe, I left my Kitchenad and dough hook in the pantry and went hands on.  It didn’t hurt that with new quartz countertops I could actually work directly on the surface.

After 10 minutes or so, my arms were burning and I admit, I was sweating.  But I had dough.

Studded with raisins and walnuts, the dough nearly doubled during its first proof.

It then was divided, rolled into rectangles, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, rolled and left to proof again.


Because you can never have too much spiced sugar, a hearty layer went on top right out of the oven to create a crackly crust.

I found this cinnamon, crunchy, raisin, walnutty treat a challenge to have around the house and was grateful I had the good sense to freeze the second loaf as soon as it cooled.

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Walnut  Bread

from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter Reinhart


  • 3 1/2 C, 16 ounces unbleached bread flour
  • 4 tsp, .66 ounce granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp, .30 ounces salt
  • 2 tsp, .22 ounces instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp, .16 ounces ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp, .16 ounces ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, beaten slightly
  • 2 TBs, 1 ounce butter, melted
  • 1/2 C, 4 ounces buttermilk or whole milk at room temp (I used buttermilk)
  • 3/4 C, 6 ounces water at room temp
  • 1 1/2 C, 9 ounces raisins
  • 1 C, 4 ounces chopped walnuts
  • 1 large egg, beaten slightly
  • 2 TBs, 1 ounce butter, melted
  • 1/2 C, 4 ounces buttermilk or whole milk at room temp (I used buttermilk)
  • 3/4 C, 6 ounces water at room temp
  • 1 1/2 C, 9 ounces raisins
  • 1 C, 4 ounces chopped walnuts

If doing cinnamon swirl

  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 TBs ground cinnamon
  • 2 TBS butter (keep it in stick form for easier spreading)


  1. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the egg, butter, buttermilk and water.  Stir together with a large spoon until the ingredients come together and form a ball.  Adjust with flour or water if the dough seems too sticky or too dry and stiff.
  3. Sprinkle flour on a work surface and transfer the dough to the counter.  Begin kneading.  The dough should be soft but pliable and tacky but not sticky.  Add flour as you knead if necessary to achieve this texture.  Knead by hand for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with walnuts and raisins for the last two minutes.  To know if the dough is ready, apply the windowpane test.  To do this, flour your fingers and pinch off about a 1/8 C of dough.  Using both hands, stretch the dough.  If you can stretch it enough to see through the dough without it breaking, you are good to go. If not, keep kneading.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to it, rolling it to coat entire ball of dough in oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it proof for about 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
  6. For swirl, mix together sugar an cinnamon.
  7. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Roll each dough half into a 8X5 inch rectangle, about 1/3 inch thick.
  8. Sprinkle each half with 1/4 of the sugar mixture.
  9. Starting with the long edge, roll dough up into a tight roll, pinch the ends closed.
  10. Place each loaf into a lightly oiled 8.5X4.5 inch pan.  Mist the tops with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  11. Proof at room temp for 60-90 minutes or until the dough crests the lip of the pan and is nearly double in size.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  13. Place loaf pans on a sheet pans making sure they are not touching each other.
  14. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate pans 180 degrees for even baking and the bake for another 20-30 minutes.  The finished bread should register 190 degrees in the center and be golden brown on the top and lightly golden on sides and bottom.  The loaves should make a hollow sounds when thumped on the bottom.
  15. Immediately remove the breads from their pans.
  16. Rub 1 TBS butter over the top of each loaf and then sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon.  As the bread cools this will become a crust.
  17. Allow to cool for at least one hour before cutting and serving.



So easy I should be ashamed

It’s always disappointing when an anticipated cookbook doesn’t have that one recipe you were hoping for.  Objectively I understand the hook–leaving it out leaves room for a next cookbook in.

This was the case when the people at Lemonade left out the recipe for their nostalgic peanut butter and chocolate crispy rice treats.

Luckily, this fine country of ours is way too wedded to sweetened cereal treats for there not to be a couple dozen similar recipes floating around in the ether.

As the title of this post confesses, this recipe is really easy.

And, if you can believe it, I found a way to make it even easier.

Instead of dirtying another couple of dishes and melting the chocolate in a double boiler or even the microwave, just scatter the chips over your crunchies and pop the whole thing into a preheated oven for five minutes.

I feel like I should be ashamed of myself.  But I’m not.

These are a great summer picnic food.  Easy to throw together in the morning and by the time you’re ready to go, all you have to do is cut them up.

Peanut butter and dark chocolate crispy rice treats


  • 1 C light corn syrup
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 C peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, your choice)
  • 6 C crispy rice cereal
  • 12-20 ounces dark chocolate chips (in the pictures I used 20 ounces…just depends on how thick you want your chocolate layer)


  1. Cut parchment to fit a 9X13 inch baking pan.  Oil the pan and parchment lightly.
  2. In a large bowl, measure out cereal.  Set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan, whisk together sugar and corn syrup until sugar is mixed-in (it will not dissolve).  Let simmer over medium heat until mixture boils.
  4. Remove from heat and add-in peanut butter.  Stir mixture until completely incorporated.
  5. Pour peanut butter mixture into rice cereal. Gently fold until all ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Turn mixture into prepared pan and evenly distribute until cereal meets the corners.  I find it useful to pack the cereal by rolling a coffee mug on its side across the surface.
  8. Sprinkle chocolate over entire surface of rice mixture.  Place pan in oven.  Set timer for 5 minutes.
  9. Using a knife or off-set spatula, smooth chocolate evenly over the surface.
  10. Allow chocolate to cool and harden completely.
  11. Cut and serve as desired.  These keep well–up to a week if covered in plastic.


When Pinterest gets ya


I’ll admit it, this is a Pinterest find.

It’s funny, for all the baking I do, I don’t spend very much time pursuing Pinterest for baking recipes.   Nope.  The vast majority of my Pinterest time is spent searching house blueprints.  And shoes.  And Vitamix recipes.  Even though I make the exact same protein smoothie every day.

But these I could not resist.  Oatmeal?  Butterscotch?  Yes please!

Now for a confession: I generally haven’t had much luck making oatmeal cookies.  It’s like I’m missing the oatmeal cookie gene.  Quick oats…regular oats…Irish oats…groats…doesn’t matter.  Instead of thick chewy wholesome treats, mine always spread.

So, using the skills I learned in baking class last summer I refrigerated the portioned-out dough over night.  My hope was that this would allow the oats to absorb some of the moisture while also chilling the butter to keep it from causing the dough to spread.

It worked pretty well.  I think there is still room from improvement (maybe smaller, thicker pucks of dough), but this is a delightful recipe with which to practice.

Chewy Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies

adapted from Baker by Nature


  • 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour (measured properly/not packed)
  • 1/2 C *quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 C butter (4 ounces), at room temp
  • 3/4 C packed light brown sugar
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSs (not blackstrap)
  • 3 large egg yolks at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 C butterscotch chips


  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, whip the butter, sugars, and molasses on medium-high speed until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Mix in vanilla.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, beat on low until just combined; about 25 seconds.
  6. Fold in butterscotch chips.
  7. Using spoons or a scoop, portion out the dough into individual balls or half domes.  Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
  9. Using the flat bottom of a cup or mug, gently flatten each ball to between 1/4 and 1/8 inch disks (you may need to dip the glass or mug in sugar to keep the dough from sticking.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 9 minutes, or until set at the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center.
  11. Allow cookies to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.