Sunday, June 15, 2014

Madeleine on a stick! :)

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Dark Chocolate-Ginger Madeleines on Sticks :)
Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

Did you know that there are little French pastries called madeleines? They are beautiful little shells that are cakey, delicious, and great with coffee or tea.

Personally, I'm hoping they'll be the next big sweet trend when cupcakes and macarons are SO yesterday. :)

Below is a photo of the pan you'll need in order to make madeleines. This one is from the Martha Stewart collection, and it's very durable.

Now, a quick Google search will produce lots of recipes for madeleines, but what I do is make one of my favorite cake batters, spray the pan, scoop about 2 tsp.-1 tbsp. of batter into each shell, and bake them until golden brown. (Typically about 12 minutes or so.) It's that simple - just make a cake batter and go! :)

When they're finished baking, I cool them completely on a wire rack OUT of the pan and then put them on sticks to make a fun new twist on cake pops!

For a great presentation, I melt white chocolate, add a little coloring, and use this mixture to glue the sticks to the madeleines. Simply dip the tip of each stick into the chocolate and push gently through the bottom of the madeleine until the stick reaches about 3/4 of the way inside.

Once they're all on sticks, lay them out on parchment or wax paper and drizzle them with the melted chocolate for a beautiful glazed presentation. Let the chocolate set up before proceeding.

Once the chocolate is cooled, put them in some small, transparent wrappers and tie them securely with a ribbon or a piece of yarn. I made these for a wedding and got the sticks, baggies, and yarn from Michael's. Any craft store should have what you need.

These make beautiful gifts for any occasion, and they're a fresh way to serve a cake pop. Plus, they're named after ME. What more could you ask for? ;)


~ Chef Madeleine Dee ~

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tasty Kentucky Treats: Chef Madeleine Dee's Review of "Kentucky Sweets" by Sarah C. Baird

Kentucky Sweets: Bourbon Balls, Spoonbread & Mile High Pie
By Sarah Baird
History Press
Review by Chef Madeleine Dee
Entire contents are copyright © 2014 Chef Madeleine Dee. All rights reserved.

There is nothing worse when testing a new recipe than buying all the necessary ingredients, following each step perfectly, and ending up with a failure because the recipe doesn’t work. It’s frustrating, disheartening, and just plain annoying. It’s also one of the reasons why I don’t use recipes when I cook and why I don’t do a great deal of baking. Being tied to a book or a piece of paper while I’m in the kitchen just isn’t my style. I like to add a pinch of this, a squeeze of that… When it looks right or smells a certain way, it’s done. However, recipes must be followed when baking. If you’ve ever experienced the heartache of wasted ingredients because of directions that simply don’t work, have no fear – Kentucky Sweets is here!
Written by Kentucky native Sarah Baird, a food writer and culinary anthropologist, Kentucky Sweets is a fantastic read full of fun facts, tips, and scrumptious recipes. The illustrations from Chase Chauffe add a whimsical and very cute touch throughout the pages, leading you through the book, in part, just to see what he has drawn next. Baird is impressive in her historical knowledge. She is an authority on Kentucky’s sweets, yet she writes in such a way that I feel like I’m talking to a friend as I read. I mean that in the best kind of way – this cookbook is just plain fun and I remembered everything that I read after going from cover to cover only once, which isn’t typical with instructional books.
The historical tie-ins accompanying the recipes were especially fascinating. For instance, did you know that Chocolate Gravy originated during the Great Depression? Also known as “soppin’ chocolate”, it came about because meat was in short supply, making traditional gravy very difficult to prepare. Obviously, chocolate was hard to come by in those times, as well, but cocoa powder was given out as part of the relief effort rations. In order to continue enjoying biscuits and gravy for breakfast, and in order to get their chocolate fix, Kentuckians invented chocolate gravy. It has been widely enjoyed ever since with fresh-baked tea biscuits. There are recipes for both the gravy and the biscuits inside this book, as well as plenty more history to discover. Be sure to read about Appalachian Stack Cakes and Modjeskas!
Another interesting addition to this cookbook is the interviews the author conducts with Kentuckians who share her love for Kentucky sweets and ingredients. Most are professionals who have a direct connection with an ingredient or a dessert in this cookbook. One man is an expert on hickory nuts. Another woman is the co-owner of a historic bakery where Transparent Pie is said to have originated. Sarah even interviews her father, who fondly shares his memories of life in Kentucky during times gone by.
Now for the recipes! That’s what you really want to know about, right? Well, as I said earlier, they work. THEY ACTUALLY WORK!! I tested three of them: Brown Sugar Oatmeal Hickory Cookies, Buttermilk Cinnamon Swirl Bread, and Shaker Lemon Pie. Each one was simple to make and absolutely delicious! The soft cookies were laced with warm spices, the bread was spectacularly moist, and the pie was a wonderfully strange dessert full of lemon slices. Once you get over how odd it is to be eating lemons rind and all, it is an amazingly flavorful treat that I will make over and over again. I like to call it a lemonade pie! It’ll be the perfect summer treat.
Honorable mention recipes that I will have to test as soon as possible: Apple Butter Pie with Oatmeal Pecan Crust, Mint Julep Brownies, Pawpaw Ice Cream, Homemade Marshmallows, Hummingbird Cake (with the recipe for the Creamy Coconut Cocktail), Kentucky Butter Cake, and the Bourbon Ball Cocktail. There are plenty more recipes, but I can’t wait to make these!
Besides being extremely informative and easy to use, I learned about new ingredients like hickory nuts, the cushaw, and pawpaws. Connections between treats/ingredients and historical songs, cookbooks, and quotes were great touches, as well. Not many kitchen tools are necessary in order to prepare the recipes, and I believe that anything she suggests using is fairly standard in the average home kitchen. Useful tips and tricks are scattered in an organized fashion on nearly every page, explaining why or why not to do certain things.
I am pleased to have discovered Kentucky Sweets. I know that I will use it many more times, especially because the friends who helped me taste the treats I prepared will undoubtedly be very cross with me if I don’t! This little cookbook would be a perfect gift for anyone you know who loves history, baking, or both. Highly recommended in every way, and that’s a big deal coming from someone who doesn’t like using recipes!
(Below is a photo of my cinnamon-swirl bread. Be sure to try the easy recipe for yourself when you get YOUR copy!)

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dakota's (Amazing) POP Parlor!

Photo property of Chef Madeleine Dee
"Tart N Peppa", a blend of raspberry, lemon, dark chocolate, almonds, & black pepper. My favorite flavor!

I am a huge Top Chef fan. I actually own most of the seasons, and I put the show on whenever I'm working at home. Something about the sounds of passionate chefs facing ridiculous challenges in the background of my tiny place helps me stay focused on my work.

Recently, I've made Chef Dakota Weiss from Season 9 (Texas) something of a pen pal. From Hollywood to Louisville, KY, we've been in contact a few times. When I first saw her name in my inbox, I squeaked. Out loud. Don't judge me.

Anyway, she's really cool and extremely talented. Recently, she opened a gourmet popcorn business called "Dakota's Pop Parlor". When I get to a certain number of fans on my Facebook fan page, I'm going to give away some of her popcorn to a lucky liker. In the meantime, Dakota sent me some samples to, well... sample. :)

Photo property of Chef Madeleine Dee

LOTS of samples. Opening the box was like Christmas morning, complete with polka-dotted tissue paper. (!)

Photo property of Chef Madeleine Dee

That beautiful lady sent me a sample of each flavor, 13 in all. The combinations inside each bag were whimsical, fun, and intriguing. This popcorn is art.

I had a mini party this weekend with some close foodie friends so that we could sample Dakota's work. We were all truly impressed.

Someone with a sweet tooth will be more inclined to love every flavor because they are ALL sweet, even the savory ones like "Curried Pig" and "Sunday Supper". Everyone had different tastes, of course, but each of us LOVED "Candy Crushin", which simply sang with notes of orange and ginger. It was the group favorite.

Below are the flavors. My ABSOLUTE favorites are "Buzzed Nanuts" and "Tart N Peppa". The former is an incredible combination of espresso, chocolate, banana, and hazelnuts. It is the perfect sweet treat. The latter was a total surprise - initially, I just wasn't sure about the combination of lemon and raspberry with black pepper, but this popcorn is a dynamite powerhouse of flavor. The fruit flavors are perfectly sweet and impeccably balanced with the subtle bitterness of the dark chocolate and the savory bite from the pepper. "Tart N Peppa" is flat out addicting and AMAZING.

But those are MY favorites! Scroll down to discover what your own faves might be. :)

The Flavors
(* = my favorites)

Curried Pig
Madras Curry Toffee, Smoked Pistachio, & Bacon

Perk N Pop!*
Espresso Toffee, Toasted Coconut, & Macadamia Nuts

Malt in Your Mouth
Chocolate Malt Toffee, Maraschino Cherries, & Candied Jalapeno

Sweet Heat Wave
Honey-Lime Toffee, Cashews, & Ghost Chili

Peanut Gallery*
Peanut Butter Toffee, Marshmallows, & Roasted White Chocolate

Buzzed Nanuts*
Hazelnut-Chocolate Toffee, Banana Chips, & Chocolate Espresso Beans

Holy Mole
Chipotle-Chocolate Toffee, Toasted Sesame Seeds, & Cinnamon

Tart N Peppa*
Lemon-Raspberry Toffee, Black Pepper, & Marcona Almonds

Pumpkin Hatch
Pumpkin Pie Toffee, Hatch Chili Pumpkin Seeds, & Pinon Brittle

Sunday Supper
Roasted Chicken Toffee, Fried Sage, & Waffle Cone Pieces

Napa Nirvana
Cabernet Toffee, Golden Raisins, & Rosemary Crackers

Candy Crushin*
Orange-Ginger Toffee, Pink Peppercorn, & Pecans

Truffle Shuffle
Truffle-Honey Toffee, Black Pepper, & Parmesan

To order some of this amazing popcorn, please visit:

A few snapshots of my 2 favorite flavors:

Photo property of Chef Madeleine Dee
"Buzzed Nanuts"
Photo property of Chef Madeleine Dee
"Buzzed Nanuts"
Photo property of Chef Madeleine Dee
"Buzzed Nanuts"

And some more artsy, self-indulgent photos:

Photo property of Chef Madeleine Dee
"Tart N Peppa"
Photo property of Chef Madeleine Dee
"Tart N Peppa"
Photo property of Chef Madeleine Dee
"Tart N Peppa"
Go order some of Dakota's popcorn NOW! 
It would be a truly unique and memorable gift. :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Homemade Bread for Impatient People Like Me

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Chef Madeleine Dee's 90-Minute Olive Oil Bread with Fresh Rosemary
     I'm not a very good baker. I don't usually like to measure ingredients, I have zero patience, and following instructions makes me itchy. I have a few recipes for desserts that I've developed and I use them on a regular basis because they don't require a great deal of time, measuring, or patience.

     A couple weeks ago, I wanted bread. No, I NEEDED bread. And I didn't want to wait. So, I got out my flour and I made some. I cheated quite a lot on typical bread technique, and I expected it to be awful. But what came out of the oven (despite literally making up the measurements as I went) was beautifully browned, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. It was really good! And you know how Italian restaurants always serve warm bread with olive oil for dipping? Well, this is just as good because there's olive oil already inside the bread! It wasn't the most gorgeous loaf ever (the shape is a little different every time), and it's not going to win any competitions against handmade baguettes in France, but for what it is, it's AMAZING. :) Also, it's incredibly inexpensive to make and you know exactly what's in it, unlike most bread from the grocery store. And it only took an hour and a half from mixing to eating. (!) I know, right? Yeah. Want the recipe? Scroll on down, buddy.

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

Chef Madeleine Dee's 90-Minute Olive Oil Bread

1 tbsp. FAST RISE yeast
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
1.25 cups luke warm water
3/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus a little extra for sprinkling over the loaf
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing onto loaf
2 tsp. finely-chopped FRESH rosemary, optional (only use 1/2 tsp. dried if you don't have any fresh)
3 cups All-Purpose flour,  plus about 1/4 cup extra for kneading
Parchment paper, for baking
A pastry brush or a folded napkin/paper towel

1. Preheat your oven to 400*F. In the bowl of your stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), combine the yeast and the brown sugar with the luke warm water on low speed until well incorporated. Turn off the mixer and let the yeast bloom for about 5 minutes, or until it foams and the color of the mixture is a tan/khaki shade.

2. Turn the mixer to a low setting and mix in the 3/4 tsp. salt, the finely chopped rosemary, and the olive oil. Letting the mixer run, add in the 3 cups AP flour 1/4 cup at a time. Don't take too long - just scoop, add, scoop, add, etc. As it mixes, it will gather around the paddle and pull away from the sides. When it's smooth and all the flour has incorporated into the dough, immediately turn it off. Scrape the dough gently from the paddle and scoop underneath of it so that it isn't sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Cover quickly with a cloth or towel.

3. SUPER FAST BREAD PROOFING: Microwave about 1.5 cups water in a glass measuring cup with a handle for 5 minutes. Immediately (and carefully) remove the cup, put your covered dough inside as quickly as you can, and shut the microwave door! Let proof for 15 minutes.

4. Once proofed, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it lightly with cooking spray or olive oil. Sprinkle a clean countertop with the extra 1/4 cup flour, then turn the dough out onto the counter and gently knead only 2-3 times. Shape into an oval (or get fancy - I don't know what kind of bread-shaping magic you have up your sleeve), and carefully lay the dough onto your greased parchment. Lightly coat the loaf with olive oil and sprinkle it all over with a couple pinches of salt. Use scissors or kitchen shears to cut 3 or 4 shallow slits in the top.

5. Bake for 30-33 minutes. It will be golden brown, it will smell amazing, and it will sound hollow when gently knocked with your knuckles. Remove from oven and let rest on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes before serving.

It's best warm and definitely best eaten right when you make it. 
However, it makes great sandwiches the next morning/afternoon. 
It's especially good with a fried egg on top and bacon. :)

Consume within 24 hours for optimum freshness (it gets stale pretty fast), 
but I seriously doubt it will last past dinner.


Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Madeleine Dee's Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Chef Madeleine Dee's Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

 Chef Madeleine Dee's Italian Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves roughly 4-6

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 lb. penne rigate
Zest of 2 lemons
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 large head broccoli, chopped and lightly steamed
1/2 fuji apple, raw and cubed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
10-15 bocconcini (mini balls of mozzarella)

1. Marinate the chicken breasts in 1 cup balsamic vinegar for at least 1 hour, then brush lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, sear on both sides, place in a baking dish, pour the marinade back over top, and bake at 350*F for 30-33 minutes depending on size. You can also grill the chicken. Set aside to cool.

2. Boil your pasta according to package directions (usually 9-11 minutes) in a large pot of salty water. Meanwhile, grab a large bowl and gently combine the red pepper flakes and a little salt and black pepper with the lemon zest, blue cheese, Parmesan, garlic powder, pesto, walnuts, broccoli, and apple chunks. 

3. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, remove it from your pot of water with a slotted spoon and add it directly (and quickly) to your bowl of ingredients. Stir gently but thoroughly, then season to taste with salt and pepper. 

4. Once it's no longer piping hot, add in your sliced chicken, the remaining 2 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar, the bocconcini, and some chopped parsley. Toss gently and adjust seasoning as needed.

5. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Your guests will pass out with delight. :)

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Chef Madeleine Dee's Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Healthy Summer Wraps w/ Avocado & Apple

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Chef Madeleine Dee's Healthy Wraps with Avocado and Apple

It's getting to be perfect picnic weather again, so I'd like to share a quick, cool, & delicious wrap that is sure to please!

Chef Madeleine Dee's Summer Wraps

4 large tortillas (I used some sun-dried tomato ones)
1 avocado, halved and sliced into long strips
1 lb. deli sliced chicken or turkey
8 slices Muenster cheese
8 romaine leaves, washed and dried
1 fuji apple, sliced very thinly
Salt and pepper
Olive oil mayo
Wax paper

1. Spread a tablespoon or two of olive oil mayo on one half of each tortilla, then add 1/4 of the chicken or turkey, the romaine, the cheese, the apple, and the avocado.

2. Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of both salt and pepper, then roll the tortillas tightly over the filling (like enchiladas).

3. Wrap each sandwich in wax paper, taping the seam shut and the ends closed like a Christmas present.

4. Cut in half with a sharp knife, peel back the paper, and have a picnic! :) 

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

This sandwich would be excellent with a big, icy glass of lemonade.

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee 
Looks pretty inviting, huh?

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee


Saturday, May 11, 2013

5-Minute Ganache Frosting

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Luscious ganache frosting on yellow cake. :)

It's no secret that people adore chocolate, and ganache has become a household name in recent years. It's shiny, deep, dark, and full of all the delightfully chocoholic flavors that you know and love. So, why not thicken it up a bit and make a frosting to pour over your treats or to dip your favorite bonbons into? 

You can in less than 5 minutes. 

Here's how:

Chef Madeleine Dee's Easy Ganache Frosting

2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips, plus extra for thickening
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Place 2 cups chocolate chips into a 4-cup plastic measuring cup with a handle. Pour the heavy cream over the chips. It should just barely cover them.

2. Microwave for 1 minute, then let it rest for 30 seconds. Microwave for 1 more minute.

3. Carefully remove from microwave and immediately whisk in the salt, blending to combine completely. Once totally mixed, add in extra chocolate as needed, whisking well after each addition, until you have a shiny, beautiful, thick frosting.

4. Pour over a tart or cake for extra decadence, or dip cooled cupcakes and other treats directly into the frosting for a shiny shell of ganache goodness.

5. Enjoy. ;)

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Executive Chef and Owner of No Place Like Home in Louisville, KY. Writer, actress, chef, professional cook and professional eater.