I can smell the fresh Spring air after a light misting of rain. I can hear the chirps of various birds and the melodious sounds of waves lapping against the sides of boats as they casually float along enjoying a leisurely Sunday afternoon. There is a definite calmness that surrounds me as I close my eyes and savor the beauty that is around me.
I am perched on a wrought iron chair, seated at a little table covered in crisp, white linen. My newly purchased sunglasses shade my eyes from the sun while its gentle rays warm my skin. Coming from somewhere behind me is the distant sound of a scooter that I imagine is carrying a young couple away from the bustle of the city to a special place where they will spend the afternoon gazing into each others eyes, dreaming of the future before them.
I sip on my expertly made cappuccino and revel in the sights, sounds and smells that can only be experienced while in this one spot, next to the River Seine. At this time, there are a few tourists resting their weary feet a few tables away, as well as a few others taking a moment or two to enjoy the afternoon with a coffee and a treat. But I am alone in my thoughts. I am alone to wait and watch, to smell and taste, and to enjoy, without anything or anyone to take me away from here, this spot. To just sit and be.
I am surrounded with a hug of beauty and inner peace in this small slice of Heaven.. It feels like a dream… like a dream… like a dream… shit, it’s a dream.
Is it a cake? Is it a cookie? It is simply a delicious, buttery treat like only the French can make!
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1/4 cup liquid honey
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest from 2 limes
juice from 1 lime
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup butter, melted, plus additional butter for pan
1/4 cup icing (powdered, confectionery) sugar
zest of 1 lime
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat together the honey and sugar to ensure that there are no lumps when combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a couple of minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture thickens slightly and begins to turn pale yellow in color. Mix in the vanilla extract, lime zest, lime juice, and coconut extract.
Gently fold in, by hand, half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Add the remaining half of the flour mixture and repeat, careful not to over mix.
Separate the batter into two bowls. Add half of the melted butter into one of the bowls of batter and use a rubber spatula to fold the butter into the batter until the batter is glossy and homogenous. Transfer this batter into the bowl with the other batter and mix gently. Add the remaining butter and fold it in until it is well incorporated and the batter is glossy and smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap, directly onto the surface, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Brush a madeleine pan lightly with melted butter and then dust lightly with flour. Tap out any excess flour. Fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of batter. The batter is quite thick so you can use a piping bag to pipe the batter into the shell, or simply transfer batter with a spoon. Use a lightly buttered finger to gently press the batter into the shell. The batter will rise and fill the shell, so you don't need to press all the way to the edges.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden brown and madeleines spring back when touched. Remove from the oven and immediately flip the madeleines onto a tea towel or cooling rack to cool completely.
Sprinkle icing (powdered, confectionery) sugar and the zest of a lime over each madeleine to serve.
Best served the same day they are made, however, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.