Recipe: French Madeleines

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Nearly every year, my parents and I go on holiday to the same small village on the coast of Normandy, France: Anneville-sur-Mer (once chosen for its name). This year, we went in the first half of September and it was as wonderful as ever! It’s one of my favourite places to be: in just a minute’s stroll you’re on the beach with the most beautiful sunsets and it’s as quiet as can be (apart from the sea, which is very soothing). I always get lots of reading done there as well.

Another thing I always do when we’re there is buy baking stuff in one of the giant supermarkets. Either a mould or tin, or some ingredient that’s much more expensive in the Netherlands, or something completely different. This time, on one of the last days, I came across a silicone madeleine mould for three euros, so of course, that ended up being mine. I’d never baked madeleines (tiny, sweet cakes in the shape of shells) before, but now I could!

I should’ve bought two moulds, though, because this madeleine recipe I’ve got for you today makes about a gazillion of them and my mould only has twelve holes. I think I must have made at least five batches before I got sick of it and dumped the rest of the mixture into my mini-muffin tin (still tasted great, but they didn’t look as pretty).

For these madeleines, I used a recipe from the first recipe book I ever bought. The instructions weren’t super clear, though, so I had to go with my gut a few times, which was fun! The recipe I wrote down for you is a little more elaborate. It also calls for orange blossom water, which I still had because I used it in another recipe once. I think you can easily replace it with vanilla, though, because after some research I don’t think orange blossom water is necessarily a staple ingredient of madeleines.

Anyway, on to the recipe!

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Rustic Blueberry Pie

I wasn’t planning on baking a blueberry pie at all, but then the fresh blueberries were on sale at my supermarket and I “accidentally” bought over half a kilo of them. Only when I got home did I wonder what on earth I was going to do with half a kilo of blueberries.

The answer came to me pretty quickly, of course: bake something!

The first thing I came up with was blueberry muffins, but I’ve got three different blueberry muffin recipes up on my blog already (with lemon, lime, and mango) so I figured it was time to try something else. Plus, I just didn’t feel like baking muffins again.

So, what better to bake when you have a truckload of blueberries than a blueberry pie? I’d never baked a blueberry pie before, but it was easy enough. I just used the pastry from my apple pie recipe (which is one of the first recipes I ever posted on this blog) and changed the filling to blueberry instead. I also added some lemon to both the pastry and the filling, and a little bit of ground cinnamon to give the flavour a boost.

And it came out absolutely delicious! This pie is easy to make and tastes so, so good, both when it’s still warm and when it’s cooled down. Yum!

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What I’ve Been Up To [7]: Happy Changes

What I've Been Up To

It’s been a while since I last did one of these “what I’ve been up to” posts and it’s also been relatively quiet around here, so I figured I’d catch you all up on my life and everything that’s been going on!

First of all, as I mentioned in this post, I started a YouTube channel a few months ago and I’ve been kind of busy with that. At the moment, that channel’s called Books Baking and Vlogging, which I thought was a nice variation on my blog name. However, I think I’ll be changing the name soon because it turns out that I don’t really like making baking videos.

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Lemon and Elderflower Drizzle Cake

Summer is the perfect time for fruity flavours! I love lemon all year round, but there’s something about the summer that makes me love it just that little bit more. Last week, I felt like baking something lemony and my mind went to a drizzle cake straightaway. A lemon drizzle cake is delicious, but I was looking for something a little bit different this time. And then I thought of adding elderflower and I figured it would be the perfect combination! (Also, fun fact: apparently Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding cake was lemon and elderflower too – so it must be good, right?)

I baked the cake you see in the pictures on Thursday, but while it was delicious, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it. All I tasted was lemon – the elderflower in the drizzle didn’t come through at all. In hindsight, it was pretty obvious why; lemon is sour as all heck and elderflower has a very subtle taste. So, I decided to make the cake again on Saturday, this time using only elderflower in the drizzle and leaving the lemon for the cake itself. The result was much better! The elderflower flavour is still very subtle, but I think that’s kind of the point of elderflower in the first place.

As with my previous recipe, I filmed the entire endeavour for my YouTube channel, so if you want visual instructions as well as a written recipe, you can take a look at the video below the list of ingredients!

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Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Brownies

I first became aware of the existence of chocolate-covered strawberry brownies when my friend Inge from Of Wonderland shared a picture of them on Twitter. They looked amazing and when I “had” to bake something for my best friend’s birthday party later that week, I knew exactly what I was going to bake.

Brownies are the best thing since sliced bread. They’re incredibly easy to make, but they’re always the biggest hit at any party (as long as they’re baked well, of course). I love to try fun variations on the classic brownie, like my Rolo and Sea Salt Brownies or these Lemon and Ginger Brownies. Of course, everybody knows chocolate and strawberries are the perfect combinations, so I knew right away these were going to be amazing!

An added challenge, however, was that I was filming everything while I was baking. You might have missed it, but I started a YouTube channel a few weeks ago, called Books Baking and Vlogging! I’ve been posting bookish videos for a while now, but this is my very first baking video. That means that there’s the usual written recipe down below, but you can also watch the video if you want to see how exactly things need to be done!

As I expected, these brownies were a huge hit at the party. Multiple people I didn’t know came up to me to thank me for them, so I’d say that’s a success! Anyway, let’s get on to the actual recipe! You’ll find the video below the list of ingredients!

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Lemon and Blueberry Muffins

Who doesn’t love a good muffin? I used to make them all the time and I was under the impression this was still one of my most-baked things, but apparently the last time I baked muffins was in June! So, high time for another muffin recipe. My supermarket had a sale on blueberries last week and I love me some blueberries, so those definitely had to be incorporated. And lemon makes everything better, so why not throw some of that in too?

The result is this wonderfully fresh muffin. The texture is silky smooth, I think thanks to the yoghurt, and there’s a blueberry (or two, or three) in every bite.

I did have a bit of a revelation when it comes to baking muffins, though: I usually bake my muffins in a silicone muffin pan and they come out pretty great, but they never really have that amazing muffin top. This time, though, I had some batter leftover, so I used my smaller metal muffin tin to bake the last few in (the ones in the pictures) and they came out so great! Look at the rise on those things! This is the first time I’ve noticed this, so it might be a fluke, but I think I’m no longer going to use my silicone muffin pan from now on! Metal all the way, baby.

Anyway, let’s get to the recipe!

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Cinnamon and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

The cookie urge got me again! I actually made these cinnamon and white chocolate chip cookies a little while back already, but I didn’t get around to writing up the recipe before now because it’s been a busy month. I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month and my goal is to write 30,000 words on my novel throughout April. It was going really well, but I haven’t written much in a few days and I’m a little stuck in the story… But I hope to figure that out soon! Besides that, I’m also participating in the Magical Readathon all month! It’s an amazing readathon based on Harry Potter and the exams the students at Hogwarts have to take. Take a look at this video if you’re interested! I’ve been having so much fun with it!

Anyway, enough about my month – you probably came here for the cookies. These cookies are actually my attempt to cookie-fy my recipe for cinnamon sugar recipes (which you can find here). That one is one of my favourite recipes I ever made (my mouth starts watering just thinking about it) so I figured it’d be fun to see if I could turn it into an equally delicious cookie.

Okay, I’m going to be honest: I didn’t like these cookies as much as I did the blondies, but they were still pretty damn good! They are very sweet, so if I make them again I might add some pecans or walnuts to balance out the sweetness of the white chocolate. But if you love sweet, you’ll love these! They’re easy to make and super cinnamon-y – what more could you want?

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Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes, I just suddenly get a very strong urge to bake cookies. This only happens with cookies, strangely enough. Never with muffins, pies, cakes… No idea what that’s about, but when it happens, I just roll with it.

A few weeks ago on a Friday, I got the Cookie Urge again while I was at work and I decided to prepare cookie dough that evening and then bake the cookies the next morning (they turn out the best if you leave the dough in the fridge overnight!). I decided to try out something new, and I remembered the double chocolate chip cookie I’d had at Subway (no spon – but wouldn’t that be cool) the other day. Those cookies really are amazing, aren’t they? And the double chocolate chip is definitely my favourite.

So, I decided to bake my own double chocolate chip cookies and they came out amazing! There’s just something about that combination of dark chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. And I don’t even really like white chocolate!

I had a bit of a hiccup along the way in that I found out I was out of plain flour when I’d already started baking. Whoops! I did still have wholemeal flour, though, so I used that instead. They still came out great, but a little more tough and dense than I’d imagined them to be. I put “plain flour” in the recipe because I still think that works best, but this proves you can definitely use wholemeal too! If you use plain flour, your cookies will probably spread a little more than mine did.

Anyway, enough babbling. Let’s get to the recipe!

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The Macaron Saga – Part 4: SUCCESS (with recipe!)

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I did it, guys! My holy grail, my unicorn of baking, has been captured. I finally managed to make a near-perfect macaron (over 20 of them actually)! After five attempts (divided over about as many years) that ended in differing degrees of failure, I can finally say that I have baked a successful macaron – and could probably do so again, meaning it wasn’t a fluke. Who knew I had it in me? I certainly thought it was a lost cause.

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Spiced Apple Tray Bake

I finally baked something again this week! It’d been a month since I last baked anything, and much longer since the last time I tested a new recipe and I was starting to experience withdrawal symptoms. Truth be told, though, it was nice to take a little break from baking and go back to appreciating how much I truly love it, instead of feeling like I “have” to bake something, either for my blog or because I promised someone.

To ease myself back into the whole baking a recipe-making thing, I decided to start with something simple. We had a very cold, snowy week in the Netherlands this week so I was craving something with a ton of spices to go along with it. You know, the kind of baked goodie that makes you feel warm inside. I also love to bake with fruits, so I tossed in some apples. And that’s how I ended up with this spiced apple tray bake. It’s simple, it’s yummy, it’s warm and, above all, it’s delicious.

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