Chocolate Orange French Madeleines

 

IMG_0068Here is a Quarantine Kitchen Challenge…..

I was  craving something sweet and during this COVID19 Pandemic, and as I walked into my kitchen pantry to find:

No butter, no problem.
No chocolate chips, no problem.
No milk, no problem.
No flour, no problem……

But with the ingredients I did have on hand in my pantry, included:   Talenti Lemon Bar Gelato ®, eggs, oranges, vegetable and Hershey’s ® Cocoa powder, the dilemma of not having butter, milk , eggs, flour or chocolate was easily conquered. I quickly figured out that I could make…..Chocolate Orange French Madeleines. And here’s how I did it.

Makes about 3 Dozen

Ingredients:
For the Madeleines:
1 box  of yellow or white cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 pint of Talenti Lemon Bar Gelato®, melted
Zest of 1 large, orange divided
Vegetable spray or oil
All purpose flour, for dusting (if you have it on hand)

For the Chocolate Sauce:
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar

Special Equipment:
A madeleine pan

To make the Madeleines:
To a large bowl, add the cake mix, the oil, the eggs , the gelato and about 1/2 of the orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, blend the ingredients into a thick batter.

Lightly coat the madeleine pan with vegetable cooking spray or lightly brush with oil. Lightly dust with flour. Tap out the excess. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Prepare a baking sheet, and place a wire rack over it for cooling. Prepare a second baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.

Remove the batter from the refrigerator. Using a measured tablespoon, fill  each shell with the batter Place the madeleines in the oven and bake for 10-15  minutes, until slightly golden, springy to the touch, and a skewer or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove the tray of baked madeleines and t immediately, loosen the madeleines from the tray using a wooden skewer and then gently remove from the tray and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. If you leave the madeleines to cool in the baking tray then they will almost certainly get stuck.

In the mean time, prepare the chocolate sauce.

Add  the ingredients to a small sauce pan and stir until a smooth paste is achieved. Using a double boiler on the stovetop,  add the small sauce pan and gently heat until the chocolate is glossy and all the solids have dissolved.  Add more oil as needed to get the consistency desired. Set aside and keep warm in the saucepan in the double boiler.

Once the madeleines are cool, it is time to dip them in the chocolate. Pour  the chocolate into a  small mug or other tall and narrow bowl and dip the cooled madeleines into the chocolate.  Allow any  excess chocolate to drip back into the dipping container and then place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Place the chocolate dipped madeleines in the  refrigerator for 10 – 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to completely set.

To serve, place the madeleines on a serving platter and garnish with the remaining orange zest.IMG_0122 madelines

Cook’s Notes:

These madeleines should stay fresh for 2-3 days if stored in an airtight container, although they are at their absolute best soon after coming out of the oven. The Madeleines can also be frozen for 2-3 months.

To replace one ounce of unsweetened chocolate, use 3 tablespoons cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon butter, shortening or oil. Dissolve the cocoa in liquid that is already used in the recipe.

To replace one ounce of semisweet chocolate, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa plus only 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter, shortening or oil and 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.

For more information on different types of chocolate, see All About Chocolate and, from Cooking LightChocolate Essentials.

If you cannot find Talenti Lemon Bar Gelato® in your local area, feel free to use plain vanilla ice cream.

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Kentucky Bourbon Balls

 Bourbon-Balls-10.jpg
Photo Credit: Christin Marhling, 2018.

These boozy bite-sized treats—were developed in 1936 by Ruth Booe, co-founder of the Rebecca Ruth Candy Co. in Frankfort, Kentucky—can be rolled in powdered sugar or dipped in melted chocolate and topped with pecan halves; on the inside, the creamy center usually consists of some combination of bourbon, sugar, butter, chopped pecans, and semisweet chocolate. These trifles are chilled rather than cooked and do pack a tipsy punch, so you may wish to warn younger or teetotalling guests of their alcohol contents.

 

Makes 24

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped pecans nuts
5 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
1/2 cup butter, softened
One 16-ounce  package confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate

Directions:
Place the nuts in a resealable jar. Pour the bourbon over the nuts. Cover and allow the nuts to soak overnight.

The following day, mix the butter and sugar; fold in the soaked nuts. Form into 3/4″ balls and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet and  refrigerate overnight.

The next day, line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just-barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. Roll the balls in the melted chocolate to coat. Place a pecan half on top of each ball and  arrange them on the prepared tray. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.


Valentine’s Day Dinner

Reservations are scarce, restaurants are crowded, and the weather can be frightful this time of year — so why brave the Valentine’s Day scramble for a restaurant reservation when you can go to the best restaurant of all: The one in your kitchen. You don’t need to make a reservation, you get to call the shots on the lighting, the music — and most importantly — the menu.

 

 

 

The secret to this menu is fresh, top-quality ingredients simply and deliciously. All you will need to do is a quick shop and do it early in the day if you can, then get out some candles and cue your favorite music for an intimate meal you can have ready in under an hour.

Plus, the act of preparing a meal for, or maybe even with, someone can be a romantic gesture. So, yes, a Valentine’s Day date night at home can be special, memorable, romantic — and delicious. Here’s our ultimate Valentine’s Day dinner menu that feels just as special as a table at a fine dining restaurant, minus the whole going-out hassle and it will leave you plenty of time for relaxed, indulgent dining.

 

 

THE MENU

 

Oysters

Oysters

Start with an appetizer of sweet, briny, velvety oysters: They are  the classic aphrodisiac for lovers and a great at-home treat. You can shuck them yourself — just watch this how-to video.

Serving them can be as simple as placing some lemon wedges and a small bowl of cocktail sauce on the side, or try an easy topping like chimichurri, a fresh, herbal sauce that is an unexpectedly delicious topping for oysters; try this recipe for a simple mild chimichurri sauce with chopped bacon and finely diced jalapeño, a pleasure for bacon lovers.

Oysters can also be served with sriracha and lime, a modern riff on the spicy-tangy combo. Also, a  Classic mignonette sauce, a sophisticated pairing of red-wine vinegar and shallots that’s so easy to make. They will be absolutely delicious.

 

 

Surf & turf: Ribeye Steak and Lobster Tails
Few dishes say “special occasion” like surf and turf, a white tablecloth classic. Pair a beautifully marbled, ribeye with creamy, rich lobster tail.

There’s nothing quite like sharing tender, succulent lobster with someone you love. Wild-caught lobster tails are a fantastic way to indulge,How to Cook: Steamed Lobster Tails with minimal prep and mess (no bibs required!). Steamed lobster is a classic and tops for enjoying the pure taste of the luscious tail meat. Or you can roast the tails with a flavorful herb topping; this easy recipe shows you how.

You will want one or two tails per person, and have extra lemon slices and melted butter on the side, plus some flaky seas salt and cracked pepper — simplicity rules.

 

 

Twice-baked New Potatoes
Baking these creamy, fluffy potatoes twice — once to cook the potato, and again to crisp up the topping — gives a special occasion­–worthy upgrade to an otherwise everyday side dish. The technique results in a much more striking visual presentation than standard mashed potato fare, without being too labor-intensive or tedious. Add an extra-special touch of decadence by topping with chives and caviar.

 

 

Lemony Asparagus Spears
With their juicy stalks and slightly crispy ends, oven-roasted asparagus make a perfect counterpart to a fancy entrée like steak and lobster. Plus, it’s delicious enough to stand on its own without taking over the plate. Steam the spears or blanch them in lightly salted water, and they’ll be ready in minutes; cook them just until they turn bright green and the stalks just turn tender. Drizzle them with a little fresh lemon juice for a subtle pop of acidity and sprinkle of salt and pepper that takes this takes this side dish to the next level. For the roasted version on this dish click on the link here.

Simple roasted asparagus recipe (the perfect spring side dish!) - cookieandkate.com

                   Photo Credit: Cookie+Kate

 

 

Chocolate-covered Strawberries
Chocolate Covered StrawberriesEvery romantic dinner should end things on a sweet note. Chocolate-covered strawberries are an all-time classic romantic dessert, and for good reason: The juicy, sweet-tart berries pair perfectly with the creaminess of milk chocolate or the bittersweet flavor of dark chocolate. For and easy chocolate-covered strawberry recipe click on the link here.

 

 

Don’t Forget the Bubbly
For the requisite champagne, fill your flutes with Jacques Bardelot Brut, a crisp, dry French  Champagne with clean and balanced flavors that will complement, rather than overpower, the meal. Not a fan of bubbly? Consider the wine pairing or H&G Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon with the ribeye.

Another suggestion is a sparkling wine: Toad Hollow Risque French Sparkling Wine,  which is a fruity sparkling wine with a natural delicate sweetness.

And in serving champagne or wine at at home with your special dinner has another benefit to staying in: no corkage fee!


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