Just yesterday I stumbled upon an event making ripples across the blogosphere, which had been live for a couple of weeks, but under my personal radar. Random Bakes of Kindness, spearheaded by Vanessa Kimbell, is an event whereby you surprise someone in your life with baked goods just to show how much you appreciate them. I have done this sort of thing before, but how fun to intentionally go about making peoples days brighter with a random gift of baked goodness? Whowouldn't want this kind of surprise?
Angie is someone I've admired for a very long time. Long a voracious career woman, she took her sector by storm and in no time at all was eye-to-eye with all the 'suits' in her industry. Angie never let her career, or the fact that she was among the first of our friends to get married, get in the way of her time with friends. She was always ready at the drop of a hat if I needed to vent about school, professors, or those university boys (you know the ones). Angie is only 3 years older than me, but she has always been wise beyond her years and her advice has done my heart good on countless occasions. While I was frolicking around new continents and countries, we didn't see a whole lot of each other, but it never changed anything.
On top of all of this, Angie shares my unabashed love for eating and creating food. She is the only appetite I know that rivals my own at a potluck. Impressive, to say the least!
First day at work in a year and a half. In that time away I lost my last grandparent, built and moved into our family's dream home, had an AWESOME baby boy (and I am in awe every day!), had laser eye surgery and stopped wearing glasses for the 1st time in 16 years, went to Disney World for the 1st time ever, had gall bladder removal surgery, lost my family home in NL but gained my wonderful family here, and mostly I got to spend the most amazing time with my family and friends!
Honey Spiced Madeleines
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (or a little less, if you prefer)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper (I didn't include the pepper – I liked the other spices as they were)
1/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Working in a mixer bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment (you can make this batter easily with a handheld mixer or just a whisk, if you prefer), add the eggs to the bowl and beat until the mixture is light, fluffy and thickened, about 2 minutes; beat in the honey, then the vanilla. Switch to a rubber spatula and very gently fold in the dry ingredients followed by the melted butter. You may use the batter now, but it's better if you can give it a little rest. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and chill for 3 hours or, if you have the time, overnight. (For real convenience, you can spoon the batter into buttered-and-floured madeleine molds, cover, chill, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge. See below for instructions on prepping the pans.)
Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds (or 36 mini-molds), dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. If you have a nonstick madeleine mold, butter and flour it or give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. (If your pan is silicone, you can leave it as is.) Place the pan on a baking sheet.
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one. Bake the large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes and the minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the madeleines are golden and the tops spring back when prodded gently. Remove the pan from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just-warm or room temperature.