Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tea Cookies and Madeleines...

Continuing our review of sweets prepared for our loyal customers at Valentine's Day, we turn our focus to a selection of tea cookies and Madeleines. This selection of bite-sized sweets are perfect for snacks, tea parties, lazy afternoons...
The cookies--each hailing from a different culinary region and highlighting different flavors and infusions-- came together to create a lovely assortment. Paired with our Hawaiian macadamia nut tea cookies (reviewed on comparing apples and orenji during the winter holidays), and our duet of Valentine's Day heart-shaped shortbread cookies (see previous posts), this assortment was a true delight for the senses and taste buds!
The first of the three cookies we will highlight in this post are Italian tea cookies infused with Meyer lemon and vanilla. Meyer lemons are small, sweet, and intense in flavor-- the perfect fruit with which to flavor light and sweet baked goods! These Italian cookies start as a light, whipped batter, which is hand-piped onto baking sheets and gently baked until light and airy. Cake-like in texture, these cookies are then glazed (while still warm) with a cooked tart lemon icing. The tart topping complements nicely the sweetness of the cookie and the earthy vanilla undertones.
Reminiscent of snow-capped mountains, these cookies are certain to impress cookie connoisseurs everywhere! They are perfect for all occasions, from formal tea to snacks and picnics!

The second "cookie" we will focus on is technically not a cookie at all! Rather, it is a small cake, baked in a shell-shaped pan. The Madeleine is a French sweet, whose origin is somewhat lost to history. Said to originate in Comercy, in Northeastern France, this cake has been attributed to Madeleine Palmieur, although it is unclear as to what century she created them. Louis XV of France was said to enjoy these cakes immensely, and may have named the sweets in honor of Madame Palmieur, a well-known pastry chef of the time.
The Madeleines we created were infused with Earl Grey Tea. Paired with the tea essence were flavors of lemon and vanilla, which is customary for Madeleines. Light and cake-like, the robust flavor of tea, lemon, and vanilla made these beautiful individual cakes an instant favorite of our customers!

The last cookie we prepared was a delightfully crisp and buttery shortbread infused with the floral scent of culinary lavender from Hawai'i. These cookies meld shortbread tradition with new flavors, creating an instant juxtaposition of flavor and texture. It is no wonder that they are one of our most often requested items!

Decorated with pink and lavender sugar-- in celebration of Valentine's Day-- we couldn't make these fragile cookies fast enough!

Our reviews of Valentine's Day are nearly done... and just in time! Easter is right around the corner! Be sure to check back!

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