Tips for Baking Madeleines and a Ginger-Infused Version

Tips for Baking Madeleines and a Ginger-Infused Version

Maybe you’ve never heard of Marcel Proust and madeleines are not part of your childhood memories. Still, you should try them. Made in a pan that forms them into beautiful, shell-like delicacies, madeleines are really small sponge cakes. With batter similar to that for a gènoise cake, they bake up in minutes and are perfect for teatime or a coffee break, or as dessert with ice cream or fruit.

If you need reasons to love them, here are my top three: 1) madeleines are simple to make once you know a few tips about preparing them; 2) they’re incredibly elegant and memorably delicious - Marcel Proust’s explanation for how tasting one transported him back to his childhood makes perfect sense once you’ve tried them; and 3) you can vary madeleines from plain to fancy with just a few extra ingredients.

Tips for Baking Madeleines

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Substituting Dried Beans for Canned Beans

Substituting Dried Beans for Canned Beans

In the foodie world, the conventional wisdom is that beans cooked from dried are infinitely better than canned. But is that true? If you have a recipe that calls for canned or dried and you want to use the one not specified, how do you substitute? Are there good reasons to use one or the other? And finally, what’s the best way to cook dried beans?

I’m not a “bean snob,” as the Culinary Director of SeriousEats described himself. Although I do keep dried beans in my pantry, I’ll use canned beans if they are handier, especially if I haven’t recently read something touting how much better dried beans are than canned. My Provencal Vegetable Soup au Pistou and my vegetarian chili both specify canned beans because using canned makes those recipes less intimidating.

Of course, I do occasionally use a boxed cake mix (in my poppy seed cake) and I’ve been known to take a few other shortcuts, so the all-things-homemade police would definitely pull me over for a moving violation or two. Still, I think that my use of both types of beans makes me more objective, because I really have no dog in this fight.

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Sour Cream Muffins with Chocolate Chunks & Cherry

Sour Cream Muffins with Chocolate Chunks & Cherry

I love to connect with other foodbloggers. Sometimes I meet them individually, at conferences or online and other times, I find groups that are fun to participate in. Recently, I joined the Secret Recipe Club. In this group, each month the organizers pair up foodblogger members. We check out our partner’s blog and find a recipe to make and blog about.

I’ve been paired with Nicole of Daily Dish Recipes. She’s the mother of 5 teenagers, “pseudo mom” to a toddler and 3 more teens, and also claims her “fur babies” – 4 dogs, 2 cats and a hedgehog. What kind of craziness must go on in that household -  I can’t even imagine! Anyway, you should definitely check out Daily Dish Recipes. Besides recipes galore, she has tips for bloggers and a feature that I particularly like, a culinary bucket list.

I chose to riff on Nicole's basic sour cream muffin recipe, because muffins are among my favorite treats and I figured that anyone who feeds that many kids definitely knows how to rock a snack. 

Sour Cream Muffins with Chocolate Chunks and a Cherry

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