Usually about this time of year I’m deep into deprivation mode. Eschewing ice cream, banishing butter, avoiding alcohol… not fun.
But 2011 will be all about fun. If I learned anything in 2010 it was that life is about living in the moment. Why put off for tomorrow would could be fun today? This isn’t an easy lesson for me. I’m a planner at heart. My husband jokes that I have more fun planning a vacation than going on vacation. But life is full of uncertainties, so this year my New Year’s resolution is simply to enjoy. To enjoy everything, especially food.
I pledge to savor each and every bite as if it were a chocolate truffle. You know the way you pay attention, really experience a morsel of quality chocolate? Or the first sip of a full-bodied Cabernet? Roll it around in your mouth, enjoy the aroma. What if you could devote that much attention to each and every bite?
When was the last time you really tasted a whole meal? Maybe you take the time to appreciate the first bite, or even the second, but before you know it the sandwich is gone and your belly is full. Which is why 2011 is all about the pleasure of food. The mindful enjoyment of dining is taking a bit of adjustment for us. Jeff isn’t thrilled about no longer eating in front of the television (except popcorn, which is so much more fun when accompanied by a movie). But dinner at the table, with candles and wine, feels wonderfully decadent.
As do these adorable petites madeleines. These simple little cakes are the poster child for mindful eating. Has any bite ever been more examined, more considered than Proust’s tea-soaked madeleine? If the feel of soggy cake on the tongue brought about a memory powerful enough to rock the literary world, imagine what paying a bit more attention to your supper might do for you.
I love the faint floral aroma of these tea cakes. The orange flower water enhances the sensory experience of the madeleines, and the pleasure of the snack. Delicate, spongy cake, beautifully crowned with browned scalloped edges makes a wonderful tea-time treat, or a cute gift tied with a ribbon. While you will need a madeleine pan (with scallop-shaped depressions), there is really no trick to these cakes. Simple ingredients make for simple flavors and an honestly pleasurable experience. Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be fully and completely enjoyed.
Enjoy these madeleines; have fun making them, have fun eating them. And savor every bite of 2011!
Orange Scented Madeleines
Makes about 18
Nonstick cooking spray
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon orange flower water
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the madeleine pan with the nonstick cooking spray. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a wisk, whip the eggs, orange extract, and orange zest until very frothy. Gradually beat in 1 cup of powdered sugar, until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the melted butter and then fold in the flour mixture. Fill the madeleine cups about 3/4 full. Bake about 8 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the pan with a butter knife and cook on a rack. When cool, dust with remaining powdered sugar.