Lately my work life has been spiralling out of control. I am so exhausted every single day that I find very little motivation, let alone the energy, to do the things I love. When I come home, I take a shower and try to write or blog and before I can even come up with anything cohesive, my eyes either droop uncontrollably until I jolt into wakefulness in the middle of the night only to find out I had fallen asleep in front of the computer. Other times I simply set the computer aside in favour of sleep.
It’s come to the point that I’m too weary to even get up to bake. My back is perennially in pain. My eyes are always bloodshot even on the nights I sleep early. I wake up in the mornings convincing myself I’m ready to take on the day, but by lunchtime all the energy has already leaked through my fingertips. There is always one part of every single day that I fall into this terrible bitter mood, a mood that surfaces even on the days when I’m not working. I start hating and finding fault in everyone. I start walking around with a scowl on my face… Simply put, I was turning into someone I don’t want to be around. The stress and toxicity of it all is like poison running through my veins, incapacitating my willpower to fight against the swirl of all the negative emotions.
But today… Today was different. I’m not sure what changed, although my routine was very much the same as any other day. It was even a little busier than usual at work, as evidenced by the fact that I could not sit down on my desk even for 5 minutes to do a little paper work. I kept being called away for something else. And yet there was a smile on my face throughout the day. I did not once inwardly grunt in frustration, roll my eyes, envision myself pulling all my hair out. I did not once lose my temper or my patience, and I joked around a lot more.
It was strange. It was unexplainable. But I like it.
I came home tonight feeling bubbly inside. Even through the heavy rain and the flood on the streets, nothing could put a damper on my mood. I don’t feel the usual exhaustion that typically falls on my shoulders around this hour. I don’t feel the usual misery over this tiny piece of time I am left with to do my side-projects and hobbies and all the things I truly love. In fact, I actually feel happy about being blessed with some time to type this up right now. Looking at the big picture in my current mood, it’s so easy to say that spending even a single hour full of unhappy feelings is a waste of time. Realistically though, I don’t think any person can escape bad days. And why would you want to when they make you appreciate the good days so much more?
I wasn’t able to bake anything in the last two weeks (I also did not feel like baking at all) so I went into my archives for something appropriate for my current mood. I have a good memory for the pockets of time I feel genuinely happy, and a lot of times they involve seemingly trivial things; such as when I pulled these madeleines out of the oven, and then when I took a bite.
I remember there being so much excitement and glee over having another new thing coming out of my oven; something that looked so plain and unadorned no less, yet were so very delicious! I confess even if I was writing this in my tired state, that wouldn’t have changed the fact that these little cakelets are worth sharing.
These madeleines are my first and I loved them so much they spurred me on to collect madeleine recipes on a Pinterest board, and even to buy a book devoted on madeleines alone. I think I might just be in love with my madeleine pan too. I find that I’ve begun to trust David Lebovitz‘s recipes more and more when it comes to my first attempt at making things that are new and foreign to me. So far they have had a 100% success rate. I did it with ice cream, I did it with macarons, and now I’ve done it with these pretty madeleines. And boy are these madeleines fantabulous.
They have that firm bite to them while being crunchy around the edges as well as the top, where the hardened glaze adds more texture. The madeleines themselves have this lovely butteriness about them, but the lemon glaze certainly adds a wonderful scent and tang that makes them, for lack of a better word, just perfect.
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder, optional *
- 1 small lemon's zest
- 9 tablespoons (120 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- unsalted butter, melted, additional for preparing the molds
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
- 2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
- 3. Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.
- 4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
- 5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 12 hours.
- 6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
- 7. Remove madeleine pans from the fridge. Plop the batter in the center of each indentation until it is about 3/4′s full. Do not spread it. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. If browner tops are preferred, these can be baked on the upper-third of the oven.
- 8. While the cakes are baking, in a medium bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.
- 9. Once baked, remove pan from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they’re cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.
- Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they’re best eaten the day they’re made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. I don’t recommend freezing them since the glaze will melt.
- * If using baking powder, madeleines may take another minute or so to bake since the batter will rise higher. They’re done when the cakes feel just set if you poke them with your finger. Avoid overbaking them.
Today, I’m okay. Tomorrow I will be even better.