A taste of summer

Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox, which means that winter is finally over!  It is now spring, at least on paper, and we know what spring in the Midwest means, right?  Magic 8-ball forecasting.  The next several weeks will be a roller coaster of temperatures and humidity, mixed with some rain and maybe even a decent thunderstorm.

Spring is a bit of a tease.  On the first couple warm days, like today, it is so tempting to pack away all my sweaters, get my bike out for the season, and go buy ice cream.  Of course, I'll need those sweaters this weekend, but for now I revel in the promise of beautiful weather that sticks around.

In this spirit, I chose to make something light and lemony for my weekend cookies:

These cookies have been looming on the baking horizon for a while.  I put them off because I wasn't sure where to go to purchase the appropriate pan, but after shopping around a little I realized I was going to end up spending $15 anyway, so I bit the bullet and bought one last Saturday.  Madeleine pans are basically molds: they're flat except for the shaped indentations where you pour the batter.  With such a pan, it turns out to be trivially easy to make very pretty and classy-looking cookies!

These specific cookies are made with lots and lots of lemon - both freshly squeezed juice and zest - which creates a wonderfully bright taste.  Otherwise, these have the normal set of ingredients, with the exception of cake flour, which is more fine than all-purpose and doesn't have a leavening agent, and lots of eggs.  Between the flour and the abundance of eggs, the final product of this recipe was very much like a cake - moist and a little spongy.  Although they don't actually need improvement, I suspect these might be pretty good with a lemon glaze on top.

As far as fancy cookies go, I think these look really good for minimal effort.  Even when I turned them out of the mold (shown in the picture above) the visual effect was impressive.  I plan on experimenting more with this pan, especially considering the fact that madeleines from a bakery (or from Starbuck's) are way more expensive than they need to be.

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