Ruthie and Emily. And of course, I spent the morning helping Beth make snacks for the occasion: thyme biscuits with ham and honey butter, deviled eggs, mushroom and goat cheese tartines, pimento cheese, and a whole array of Christmas cookies.
The weather was perfect, unseasonably warm and sunny, but chilly enough to sip on spiked hot chocolate (made by Courtney) while we listened to the ever-wonderful Rebekka Seale demonstrate how to dye napkins with natural indigo. Like all of the Kinfolk workshops I've been to, the guests were an innovative bunch and by the time the napkins were hung to dry, several of them stripped the clothes right off their backs and dyed those, too.
Then the sun set gracefully over the trees, leaving us to craft wreaths by the glow of candles and Christmas lights. And might I just say: perhaps my favorite part of this entire workshop was getting to know sweet Emily, who meticulously collected pine and magnolia clippings from farms all around Nashville and helped our new friends assemble ten of the most unique wreaths I've ever seen. She's a third generation, self-taught woodworker and fellow lover of Amy Poehler. Okay, she's just plain cool.Elizabeth Suzann and yes, dear Santa, I sure would like to see one just like it under my tree a week from now.
I thought I'd share with you one last type of holiday cookie since they were such a big hit at the after party last night: a madeleine, spiced with white pepper, fennel, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and orange, and dipped in a boozy, bourbon glaze. If you've never had a madeleine, it's a little bit like a cake donut, but about a hundred times prettier and twice as buttery. The texture is totally dependent on the batter being very cold and the oven very hot, but as long as you get those two things right they're an amazingly simple way to show off a bit during the holidays.
And no, that's not a promise. I'm probably going to share at least one more type of cookie with you before the week is over.
makes 24 regular madeleines or 40(ish) mini madeleines
adapted from David Lebovitz
3 large eggs at room temp
2/3 cup raw cane sugar
1 1/4 cups AP flour, plus extra for pan
9 Tablespoons salted butter, plus extra for pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of one large orange
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon bourbon*
2 Tablespoons water
1. Melt butter with orange zest and set aside to cool. In a small bowl, sift together flour, spices, salt and baking powder.
2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar together until frothy and thick, about five minutes. Fold in flour mixture with a spatula.
3. Add butter a little bit at a time, cover and refrigerate.
4. Chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours. Preheat oven to 425, then butter and flour your pan when you're ready to bake. If you have the time, pop the pan in the freezer for a few minutes.
5. Spoon batter into pan so that it fills the molds up 3/4 of the way (this scoop is the perfect size for minis). Don't try to spread it out. Bake for 5-6 minutes for mini madeleines and 8-9 minutes for regular madeleines.
6. Remove from pan and let cool. Meanwhile, mix glaze- the amount of bourbon you use is totally up to you. I suggest starting with one Tablespoon and if it's not "bourbony" enough for you, add more bourbon and powdered sugar accordingly. Glaze madeleines as soon as they cool.
These madeleines are best if eaten the day they are made, but will keep in a container for up to three days. Do not wrap tightly in plastic or the glaze will melt.