Greetings from Chilly Texas

Where everything is finally MELTING. Plus, madeleines.

Howdy cookbook fans!

WELL. Apologies for going dark but it’s been quite a week here in Texas. You may have heard? I had this newsletter half put together to send Tuesday. Here’s the intro I wrote then:

We got about 7 inches of snow Sunday night and it has continued to be just bitterly, punishingly cold. A good chunk of Austin is currently without power. With temps dipping into the single digits and Texas houses just not equipped to handle this much cold (I’ve lived in houses in Austin that weren’t insulated), it’s a scary situation for a lot of people. We’ve got power because we’re close to a substation, which feels like such absurdly random luck.

Since then, we lost power for about 18 hours (it’s back now), which meant the heater didn’t work on the coldest night of this whole spell. I have friends who lost power for upwards of four days and had to go stay with friends and family, who then subsequently also lost power. No one I know has proper running water currently; we were totally out for three days and then this morning the faucets started dripping. And everyone I’ve talked to keeps saying the same thing: we’re the lucky ones, we didn’t have it so bad.

Texas is hurting, and if you have the means, please consider donating to one of the following:

If that seems like a lot, that’s because it’s a lot! A lot a lot a lot of people are deep in it right now. Every little bit helps.

Okay, today, a short one, to clear out my links backlog mostly. At the end, a recipe for something cozy and simple and sweet, from the gorgeous How Wild Things Are by Analiese Gregory. I hope you are safe and warm wherever you may be.

A post shared by Reese’s Book Club (@reesesbookclub)

Manuka Honey Madeleines

Recipe excerpted with permission from How Wild Things Are by Analiese Gregory, published by Hardie Grant Books February 2021.

I’ve been experimenting with taking processed sugar out of some of my recipes and replacing it with more natural alternatives, such as honey and malt syrups. This is one of the recipes that adapted exceptionally well to honey, and I love the flavour the madeleines get from intense ones such as manuka and leatherwood. For me, these cakes are best served straight from the oven. They don’t benefit from being kept for too long!

Makes 24 madeleines

170 g (6 oz) butter, plus some for brushing the metal mould

3 eggs

185 g (6½ oz) manuka or leatherwood honey, or other honey as preferred

160 g (5½ oz) plain flour

¼ teaspoon salt¼ teaspoon baking powder

soured cream and apricot jam, to serve

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Melt the butter and let cool to room temperature.

  2. In a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and honey until light and fluffy, approximately 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients, then add them to the egg mix and fold by hand. Once the dry ingredients are incorporated, gently fold in the cooled melted butter. Chill in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes. To make the jam, take the seeds out of the apricots, then roughly dice them. 

  3. Combine with the water and honey in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until a jammy consistency is reached.

  4. Butter a madeleine mould with a pastry brush. I use a 12-cake non-stick metal one; the old copper madeleine moulds are amazing, but I would grease and flour them first. Fill each indentation half full and bake for 10 minutes. They should be set and golden, with minimal colour on top and light brown underneath. Serve immediately with soured cream and jam.

Okay! Next week, fingers crossed, will be a normal week! Knock on wood, salt over the shoulder, turn around and spit! See Tuesday folks Tuesday, see Friday folks a week from today with as many book deals as I can possibly knock out in one email. Have a good weekend.