Category Archives: Baking

Animal Quackers {CtBF}

Duck fat:  The liquid gold byproduct of Howard’s duck confit.  Decadent vehicle for frying potatoes.

Here’s a new one to add.  Fat to use for cookies.  What?  Cookies, you say?

The recipe on deck this week for Cook the Book Fridays is Duck Fat Cookies or sablés à graisse de canard, if you want to sound more elegant. In reading the notes accompanying this recipe in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, It wasn’t clear to me whether these cookies are actually made in southwest France where residents eat lots of duck fat or if these were just inspired by those customs.

Most of the ingredient list reminded me of the Victorian currant cookies that I sometimes make at holiday time.  Currants are steeped in brandy to plump them up before mixing them into a shortbread-like cookie dough.  However Victorian currant cookies don’t include any duck fat.  In Duck Fat Cookies, more than half of the fat is duck fat.  Interesting….

The dough came together easily in the stand mixer.  The texture of the dough was very tender.  The dough was divided and shaped into logs and chilled.  Refrigerator cookies, one of my favorite inventions!  I baked one log, freezing the other for another time.  My cookies never really browned, even lightly, though I baked them extra time.  I should have used a slightly higher oven temperature.

The cookies were wonderfully sandy, earning their name of sables.  However, the taste was rather odd.  I used duck fat leftover from Howard’s homemade duck confit, and I could taste the residual spices used to flavor the duck.  In contrast with the sweet dough and the dried fruit, the savory spices were jarring.  The first thing that came to my mind was the memory of a similar contrast in Salted Olive Crisps, where olives dotted a sweetish dough.  I’m thinking savory additions, such as olives and nuts, would make a better combination with the duck fat dough.

To see how the others from Cook the Book Fridays made out, check out their links here.  To try them yourself, you can find the recipe on page 297 in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.

The highlight of my week, and maybe the whole summer, was a daytrip we took to Duxbury, Massachusetts for a tour of Island Creek Oyster Farm.  We booked the tour back in April when there was no way we’d know the weather would be picture perfect.  We enjoyed a two-hour tour that included a visit to the hatchery where over 20 million oysters were seeded this season and a boat ride in Duxbury Bay to see where the oysters are farmed.  The culmination of the afternoon was enjoying unlimited oysters at the new raw bar after our tour.  Howard and I ate 4 dozen each.  It was a fabulous day!

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Madeleine Musings {CtBF}

 

Madeleines.  Little French cakes, that I’ve made just twice before, using Dorie Greenspan’s recipes.  The perfect accompaniment to tea.  The first time I made madeleines, they were honey-spiced.  The second time they were brown butter-vanilla.

The recipe challenge for Cook the Book Fridays this week is sort of combination of these predecessors.  David Lebovitz’s Buckwheat Madeleines has the distinct flavors of brown butter (love the nuttiness) and dark honey (I used buckwheat).  These ingredients are layered on a buckwheat batter, adding to the earthiness.  Finally, cocoa nibs provide a little crunch and a hint of chocolate flavor.  What a lovely package!

I liked that David’s recipe used all egg whites.  I looked at other madeleine recipes, and they all called for whole eggs.  I’m always looking for delicious ways to use up egg whites.  I suspect that I could use egg whites in place of whole eggs in other madeleine recipes.  That’s a trick I’ll remember.

This recipe made A LOT of madeleines.  I have a regular pan and a mini-madeleine pan.  I unintentionally overfilled the molds, but there was lots of batter left over after filling both pans.  Certainly, I could have made half the batter and had plenty of madeleines.

My madeleines didn’t have the ideal shape because I overfilled them, but they still tasted good.

I brought them to a garden club activity to share with the ladies.  They were a hit.

You should try these.  They are so simple to fix up.  You can find the recipe here.  It’s also on page 270 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  See what my blogging friends thought by following their links.