April is generally not a month I enjoy. When I was younger, I looked forward to Easter and all the candy that came along with the holiday. Coloring eggs was also a much-anticipated activity. But April always seemed like a month of endless rain. And I don't like rain. Everything starts to take on the damp feeling, and it makes me feel a bit foolish to be making a fire in the fireplace. The window for that (in my mind) closes at the end of February.
Another reason for April receiving a bad mark in my book has been my inability to get going after spring break. Getting back in the work groove after a break is hard, but it seems even more difficult transitioning from the 3rd to the 4th quarter. Ugh.
Now that I'm older and have a child attending a college 3,000 miles away, April isn't so bad. It means that I get to see my hiapo (firstborn in Hawaiian) in a few weeks. I haven't seen her since early January when I dropped her off at the airport in Kona. I miss her a lot.
With her imminent homecoming, I figured it would be a good time to get off my butt and start exercising a bit more diligently. I bought myself a new fitbit and have been hitting the elliptical every weekday morning. To amuse myself on the elliptical, I've been watching Craftsy videos. It's amazing the kinds of classes they have for sale. I've purchased both knitting and cooking classes. The most recent class I watched was a class on making macarons, madeleines, and other miniature desserts.
Am I the only one who noticed how the previous paragraph covered BOTH exercising AND desserts?
I haven't tried making macarons, but I've been making madeleines for years. I've tried multiple recipes, but I adapted a recipe I found on the internet. The original recipe is delicious and was the only recipe I tried which I could replicate successfully time after time. However, the drawback for me was the lemon zest. I am not a big fan of using lemon zest in my desserts because I seldom buy lemons. I have a lemon tree in my backyard, but the lemons do not usually boast beautiful, smooth, golden skin. The skins are often sunburnt with a green-brown tinge, and the zest they yield does not look appealing in desserts. This is unfortunate because the flavor of lemon zest is sublime.
So I took that recipe and adapted it for use without lemon zest. However, I realized that I occasionally missed the lemon flavor. Using lemon extract will not yield a product exactly like the original recipe, but lemon extract is easy to get. Using the vanilla extract with a drop or two of lemon oil is another option, however lemon oil is more difficult to obtain. Of course, the generous dusting of powdered sugar will hide unsightly zest pieces on the surface, but some people might be put off when they encounter off-color zest when they take a bite.
Collette Christian's Craftsy class offers yet another take on getting that citrus flavor. She opts for dipping the madeleines in a glaze. Interesting. I have not yet tried the madeleines from the class, and I'm not sure if I actually will. I purchased the class for the step-by-step macaron instructions. I hope to try that out this summer when D1 is home. . . someone to wash my dishes.
click on recipe title for printable recipe
1/4 c butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (may replace half with 1/4 tsp lemon extract)
pinch of salt
1/3 c sugar
1/2 c flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease and flour the wells for 15 3" madeleines. Combine eggs, vanilla, and salt, in a large (1 quart) glass measuring cup. Gradually add sugar while beating at high speed. Continue beating until mixture is light yellow and has increased in volume. This will take about 10 minutes with a hand-held mixer. Sift flour over egg mixture and fold in gently. Add melted butter and fold in gently. Using a #40 disher, divide batter among prepared wells. Bake for 15 minutes. Tap pan sharply to dislodge madeleines and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over madeleines when completely cool.