Sunday, February 12, 2012
An Easy Little "I Love You" Treat
I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day. Sure, it's lovely to see the kids at school exchanging Hershey kisses and little pink and red cards, and getting all hyped up on those irresistible-even-to-adults cinnamon heart candies. It's nice. But this year, report cards come out on Valentine's Day, which puts a damper on things, and to make matters worse, where we would have had the Valentine's dance, we have to get ready for parent-teacher interviews instead. Yup, the new reporting schedule kind of bums out Valentine's Day at school, but I'm sure the children will get over, and plus, who needs the drama of 13 years olds "dancing" on Valentine's Day anyway?
That being said, I always take Valentine's Day as an excuse to bake treats for the people I love. I remember one year when I was in university, I woke up early and baked this fudgey chocolate cake from the Canadian Living Cooks show and made a mixed CD for my "valentine" at the time. We ended up arguing about the impending war on terror and I swear I almost called it quits right then and there (my leftist tendencies were obviously unappreciated in that relationship!). Clearly, we weren't meant for each other. And I don't think I've ever baked that cake again.
Now that I've found my real Valentine, I admit that we haven't really celebrated the day in awhile, but baking treats to show love always seems to be on the agenda. And these little polenta madeleines fit the bill perfectly. They're lemony and fruity from the olive oil, and oh so tart and easy to pop into your mouth. You definitely don't need Valentine's day as an excuse to make them, though they are a nice change from the usual rich chocolately things that make their way onto Valentine's day menus. The recipe is simpler and lighter than a traditional madeleine, though I'm sure Marcel Proust would have approved (ok.. I take that back.. I'm not sure.. but Nathalie Sarraute would have for sure!). Don't sweat it if you don't have a special madeleine pan -- a mini-muffin pan will work just fine. If you serve it up with macerated strawberries, it might just pass off as elegant, although I much prefer them with cup of afternoon weekend coffee.
Lemon Polenta Madeleines
from Hot from my Oven
makes 10 baby madeleines and 2 big muffins
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of good olive oil
3 tablespoons of yogurt
zest and juice of one lemon
3/4 cup of polenta
1/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, egg, olive oil, yogurt, lemon juice and zest until thick and ribbony (about 5ish minutes by hand).
3. Add the polenta, sift in the flour and baking soda and mix until just combined. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.
4. Spoon the batter into a prepared pan of your choice and bake in 350 degree oven until light golden brown and a cake tester inserted comes out clean (for the madeleine pan, it only took about 15 minutes).