For this month’s Secret Recipe Club I spent a long time perusing Susan’s Australia-based blog, My Whole Food Family, bookmarking recipes such as Cappuccino Brownie Bites, Palmiers, Pear Tea Cake, Christmas Cake, and Caramel Cheesecake. I had my heart set on re-creating this daring Bûche de Nöel and even bought a silicone mold for it, but time got away from me.
But then I remembered that over a year ago I had purchased a madeline pan from World Market and still had not used it. Additionally, I had all of the ingredients for these Earl Grey Tea Madeleines on hand, including a brand new tin of Cream of Earl Grey.
I took a batch of these over to our veterinarian as a thank you for all of their help during Leopold’s last days.
These madeline cake-cookies were the perfect treat for tea-time. The fruit zest is bright and the madeline texture is springy without being greasy. The tea flavor was lost on me, but it might have been the tea I used (even though I added more than the recipe called for) or the fact that my lemon zest was extra “zesty”. The original recipe calls for the zest of half a lemon, but the recipe printed in Bon Appétit lists only a packed half teaspoon, which I would recommend to have more balanced flavors.
If you are planning to make these, remember to allow the batter to chill!
I’ve been on a chocolate and caramel kick recently so I jumped at the opportunity to make Emily’s, of Life on Food, Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal. I had a huge block of chocolate and an extra jar of fleur de sel caramel sauce that was itching to be used up so it was just meant to be.
The hardest part about these bars is pressing the cookie dough-like filling into all of the crevices of the pan. I found that if I took balls of dough and didn’t press too hard, I was able to fill most of the spots in one round. That being said, this was a super easy and great recipe. Everyone in my office loved them, marketed as Salted Caramel Blondies.
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club I was assigned Shirley from Enriching Your Kid, who is a clinical psychologist-slash-homemaker that chronicles her family recipes and cooking experiences through her blog. There were a few recipes I was thinking about making, especially Mint Chutney, Dal Lentils, and Chole Chana Masala. I had been itching to bake something so I zoomed in on pineapple jam. I was thinking about all the ways I could use the pineapple jam: pineapple cookies, swirled into banana bread, plain on toast, and pineapple cakes.
The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival was in the month of October so I already had Asian sweets on my mind. Pineapple cakes (sometimes called pineapple tarts) are all over Asia and each region has its own special format. The Taiwanese version is named s Fènglísū (鳳梨酥).
I really enjoy eating pineapple cakes, but the store-bought kind tend to be dry and the filling lacking in flavor. making your own pineapple filling allows you to control the texture, spices, and sweetness. I switched out the cardamom in the recipe for ginger and cut down the sugar, cooking it down until it was nice and thick.
The dough for these tarts comes together quickly and is ridiculously easy. There are only 3 ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, flour, and egg yolk. I busted out my wooden mooncake molds that I picked up in Chicago’s Chinatown years ago and brushed them with an egg wash mixture before filling.
Freshly baked cakes
Eaten warm, the dough is thick, buttery with a nice tender crumb. The filling is the perfect consistency that doesn’t ooze out when you bite into it but is soft enough to mix with the dough in each bite.
Banana pudding holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the first things I made with my husband when we were dating. It’s incredibly easy to make and there is almost no way to make it not taste delicious.
That’s why when I was assigned Wendy from “A Day in the Life on the Farm” for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, my decision was easy. Wendy and her husband Frank are retired police officers that escaped the city and live on a 12-acre farm. She made this pudding for brunch after Christmas which reminded me that it’s a great crowd pleaser. It fit the bill perfectly for my brother-in-law’s girlfriend that was visiting from out of town for a dinner party at our place.
It’s impossible not to like banana pudding! It’s absolutely delicious. To elevate it a little bit more I drizzled some salted caramel sauce on top. I served these in highball glasses as dessert. I can also attest to the fact that they are good in the morning because I ate all the leftovers for breakfast the next day — Wendy was smart serving this at brunch!
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club I had the honor of being paired up with the owner, Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. Sadly, it won’t be a surprise that I had her blog since she sends out the assignments, but hopefully I can surprise her with what recipe I chose from her massive list.
I combed through her recipe index, pausing on Almost White Castle Burgers, Fauxtisserie Chicken, Dulce de leche Cheesecake Bars. My husband helped me decide on Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs since we had been craving some ribs and he’s always a sucker for barbecue sauce.
We recently purchased a slow cooker, so have been looking for new ways to use it. Unfortunately, we have the smallest Crock-Pot in existence so we have to be careful when reading recipes. We made ⅓ of the recipe and it fit perfectly into a 3 quart pot. It was hard to find only 2 pounds of ribs but our local grocery store luckily had smaller portions pre-packaged.
These ribs turned out finger-licking-good (literally). The meat fell right off the bone and the charred bits from the broiler were my favorite part. Served with chips or smashed potatoes, I was transported to a outdoor summer picnic (while still sitting in my air-conditioned dining room.