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Hello Bakers,

Please forgive me for not writing. It has been forever. The macaron book completely
took over my summer and early fall. It will be out soon.
Now the blog is back and my goal is to post a lot more often.
About ten days ago, I posted a Sourdough Peach muffin on Instagram and got a few requests for the recipe.
I had promised that I would feature that recipe here on the blog and now I am making good on that promise.
I know the proper and hip thing to do would be to be blogging about pumpkin spice and Thanksgiving but I promised and when I promise a recipe I have to make good it.

Don't worry, I have some nice posts planned for your holiday baking - focusing on getting ahead, making the perfect pumpkin pie and in general being the best baker at your holiday gatherings.
This is for all my readers who maintain a sourdough starter, for those of you who don't the starter can be replaced with sour cream or yogurt.
These muffins, made with starter, are really tender and delicious and a great way to use the starter that you would normally discard.
Just a side note - to make these muffins - your starter should not be exhausted or in distress just in maintenance mode - which means you have been feeding and discarding at least once a week.
The starter should be looking like pancake batter - if there is liquid on the top and you haven't fed it in a while, clean it up and give it a feed (usually 300g water and 200g unbleached all purpose or bread flour id perfect) and then let it sit out, covered at room temperature for a few hours.
Then you are ready to bake these delicious muffins.
You can use any fruit you like, blueberries, apples, peaches, and pears. It really is a blank canvas.

Sourdough Muffins

Again, these muffins are delicious. They have less fat then most cake muffins and keep well due to the sour.

Yield 13 muffins
12.5 ounces all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces healthy starter
4 ounces melted butter
6 ounces sugar
2 eggs
6 ounces buttermilk or 6 ounces milk mixed wirh 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
or lemon juice.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one lemon

The mise en place

7 ounces fresh blueberries, chopped peaches (frozen work great), pears, or apples.
Coarse sugar (sometimes called sanding sugar for sprinkling) (optional)

Oven 350 degrees
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin liners.
1. Sift or whisk together flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside
2. Mix together starter, melted butter, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, lemon zest until smooth and combined.

3. Combine the wet into the dry ingredients, mixing together with a spatula, Try to use no more then 15-20 strokes. Stop mixing when the flour disappears, Fold in the fruit quickly.
4. Scoop or spoon batter into prepared cups.

5. Garnish with coarse sugar if desired.
6. Bake at 350 degrees, start checking at 25 minutes.
The muffins are done when a cake tester or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
For some reason the second time I baked them they did not take on a lot of color. The oven at school has a top heating element - that made a difference. We can achieve this at home by moving the muffins or anything we are baking to the top third of the oven for the last few minutes of baking.
But don't walk away - they can over brown quickly.
Happy Baking!

Hello Bakers.

I am so excited to let you know that this is my first blog post to include micro recipe videos!
These are so much fun to create. If they seem a little rough at first - please bear with me - a little more practice and all should be smooth and finessed.
Now for today's topic.....
A few months ago, the generous folks at Emile Henry sent me a baguette baker. I had been
borrowed the Bread Cloche from the Sur la Table Kitchen and was having great success.
I posted my photos online and Emile Henry picked up my threads.  They offered to send me the Baguette baker to experiment with - as a certified baguette obsessed baker - I could not have been more thrilled.
The baker came with a booklet of nice recipes but I felt they needed more hydration so I changed the formula so that the baguettes were at 73% hydration. They were not super easy to handle but a little flour on the hands goes a long way.
You don't need the Emile Henry Baguette to make these baguettes - but it really does a great job.
Put it on your wishlist baguette aficionados, You will love it.
Perfect Emile Henry Baguettes
238g Water – cool body temperature – about 90 degrees
325g Bread Flour – Unbleached (King Arthur or Gold Medal Better for Bread)
5g Instant Yeast
7g Salt

Large Bowl
Dough whisk or Stand Mixer fitted with the Dough Hook
Bowl Scraper
Proofing Bags
Emile Henry Bread Baker
A piece of parchment paper  - cut it 8x10”this will support the baguettes during proofing and also line the baker during baking. You may have to trim it to fit the lid.

**A Half Sheet Tray lined with parchment paper can also be used.  Lightly spray with pan spray or brushed with a thin film of vegetable oil.  (This prevents the dough from sticking if you have to shift the baguettes on the tray.)

1.       Combine the water and yeast in the mixing bowl – stir to combine, about 15 seconds.
2.       Add the flour and salt.
3.       Stir with the dough hook until the dough becomes a cohesive mass.  If using the mixer, mix on speed one for 3 minutes.
4.       Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a shower cap.

5.        Let sit for 45 minutes at room temperature.
6.       After 45 minutes give the dough a fold.  Using the bowl scraper and starting at the bottom of the bowl fold each edge toward the center. Then turn the dough over so the smooth side of the dough is facing you.
7.       Cover and let sit for another 45 minutes.
8.       Fold again – 3 folds is optimum as folding strengthens gluten and your baguettes with have more volume. But two folds will also produce good bread.
9.       After the second or third fold let the dough sit, covered for 10 minutes.
10.   Using your bench scraper, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Each piece should weigh about
190 grams.  Roll each piece into a short sausage shape (lightly flouring your hands if the dough is sticky. Cover and rest the dough for 15 minutes. This helps the dough relax so shaping the baguette is easier
11.   Shape the baguette as shown in the video clip.

EH Baguette Demo 02 from Colette Christian on Vimeo.
 Load the baguettes onto the baker.
12.   Place the baker in the proofing bag, add the cup of steaming water (3/4 full) and zip the bag shut.
Check after 20 minutes. They may take longer but this is a good point for the first check.

 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees conventional or 425 degrees convection.
13.   Your baguettes are proofed with they look like they have taken a breath and held it. In other words, they are slightly puffy, about a 1/4 larger then then were and have a slight marshmallow texture.  Because they are baking in the Emile Henry Baker – we are under proofing them slightly. They will finish proofing as the baker warms up.
14.   Remove them from the bag – let them sit for 5 minutes to form a slight skin – this makes them easier to slash.
15.   Sprinkle the tops with flour, spray them lightly with water and slash them on a strong angle 3-five slashes.

EH Baguette Demo 02 from Colette Christian on Vimeo.
16.   Pop the top on the baker, slide it into the oven.
17.   After 20 minutes, remove the top of the baker and let the baguettes bake uncovered for 5 more minutes. They should be an all over deep golden brown – if they are still light after 5 minutes bake them a few minutes longer.
18.   Remove the baguettes from the baker and cool on a rack.
Next assemble a plate of your cheeses and pates, invite your friends over, pour the wine and enjoy!
Baguette Party!
Baguettes have no shelf life so freeze leftovers, well wrapped. Thaw at room temperature for a few hours and then refresh them, in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes.
Happy Baking!

Hello Bakers,

I am so pleased to announce that my new Craftsy Class - Danish Pastry from Scratch will
be launching soon.
Here is a chance to win the class for free!!!! And be on your way to creating gorgeous Danish from Scratch.
I cannot wait to share this class with you.
Please click on the link to enter. The last chance to win will be on Sunday and the winners will be notified next week.
Happy Baking!

Hello Bakers,

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
Last week, we received early zucchini in our Abundant Harvest Organic fruit and veg box.
They were beautiful - vibrant green, slim and perfect. The first zucchini of the season, which here in
California is always earlier then anywhere else.

I was reminded of my years back in Massachusetts and Vermont, where in summer, zucchini is ridiculously plentiful.
Old timers warn new gardeners to plant only one or two zucchini plants, but nobody listens
and there is such an abundance that you can't give it away.

In fact, there is an old New England joke that goes like this: "Why do you roll up your car windows in August? Punchline: "Well, if you don't someone will throw a zucchini in your front seat."

The following recipe is how I used up those first two zucchini - this is an old fashioned muffin and quick bread recipe that has been around a long time.
I love the pineapple in this. It brightens up the flavors - and allows the recipe to have  less sugar and still be sweet.
It uses one small can of crushed pineapple - I wanted to make sure of that so you didn't have a little bit of pineapple leftover, which can be annoying.  That is why the recipe makes 15-16 regular size muffins, 6+ Texas size muffins and 2" loaf pans. Mini loaves would make great gifts - whatever size pan you have on hand grease or spray it well and fill it 2/3rds full.
They also get topped with cinnamon sugar before baking - this adds an extra bit of sweetness and dresses them up a little.
I love gilding the lily with my baking - one day in another post I will tell you why.....
Happy Baking!

Pineapple Zucchini Muffins
12 3/4 ounces (361g) All purpose Flour - I used King Arthur
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt

3 Large Eggs
7 ounces (198g) Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla

6 ounces (170g) Vegetable Oil

1 small can Crushed Pineapple Drained
2 medium sized Zucchini, grated and excess water squeezed out (8ounces) (228g) - post squeezing
4 ounces Walnuts (114g), toasted and chopped

Topping: Cinnamon Sugar - 7 ounces (198g) sugar to 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon
- combine and set aside. Leftover cinnamon sugar can be stored in an airtight container.

1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.
2. In a large bowl or in the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Mix by hand with a whisk until smooth and light (about 3 minutes) or with the mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour the oil into the mixture with the machine running or while whisking if working by hand. (Stabilize your bowl if working by hand.)
If using a mixer, stop, find a good spatula the rest of the ingredients are folded in.
3. Add the sifted dry ingredients, zucchini and pineapple. Mix the ingredients with as few strokes (folds) as possible, about 15 - the flour should have almost disappeared, then add the walnuts.
Add the walnuts in another 5 folds and everything should be smooth. The point is not to over mix and develop too much gluten.
4. Portion the batter into sprayed or lined muffin tins or loaf pans. Remember these muffins will rise nicely so do not over fill. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar.
5. Bake at 350 regular oven or 335 convection.
6. Start checking in 25 minutes. They may take a few minutes longer depending on their size and shape.
The muffins are done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Enjoy - they are perfect with morning coffee.
They also freeze really well.

Hello Bakers,

Last week, one of my Craftsy students asked me for a Honey Madeleine recipe. I was happy to
come up with one. It took a few tries because honey always contributes a lot more moisture then sugar. My AI, teaching assistant, Shayenne was so patient - each time we had to redo it.
But this final version is delicious. My husband (Chef) thinks I should add honey powder to pump up the honey flavor but for now I think we will stick with this recipe. The honey flavor is there, trust me.

All  this led me to think that blog post on honey madeleines would be a great idea.
These have a delicious honey and butter glaze. They are fun to make and really tasty - delicious with
morning coffee or tea.

After all, once you have invested in a madeleine pan, it's nice to have a collection of madeleine recipes.

I offer two recipes for madeleines in my Craftsy class French Miniature Desserts and they are good but I will try to more offer more madeleine recipes on the blog. I know plenty of you have those madeleine pans resting in your cupboards. Let's use them and make some beautiful madeleines.
Maybe even a few savory madeleine recipes....
The thing is, Madeleine pans are rather exclusive, basically the only thing you can make in them are madeleines.

This recipe is nice for this time of year. I always think of early spring in California as a transitional
time for bakers - we are moving out of citrus and the berries are not quite here yet.
(Well they are but they are still expensive)
So honey is a nice flavor to explore this time of year.
A good supermarket clover honey will work fine. But if you have some flavored honeys use them.
Lavender honey could be really interesting in these.
The batter is loose so be careful when you fill your piping bag. Maybe put down a piece of parchment paper to catch drips.
Have fun!
Happy Baking!

Honey Madeleines (Ribbon Method)
114g  ( 4 ounces) Cake Flour
3g Baking Powder
1g Salt
3 Eggs
85g (3 ounces) Sugar
85g (3 ounces) Honey
71g (2.5 ounces) Melted Butter
Yield 12 Madeleines
Honey Glaze:
57g (2 ounces)Melted Butter
57g (2 ounces) Honey
Stand or Hand Held Mixer
Madeleine Pan
Sifter or Strainer
Pastry Brush
Piping Bag
Piping Tip (optional) Ateco 804 or any plain tip approximately 3/8” in diameter

Pan Preparation:
Pan spray (or melted butter)
Brush the shells of the madeleine  pans with melted butter or spray with pan spray.
Sift the flour over the pan – be generous, then tap out the excess.

1.     Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, 190 Celsius, Gas Mark 5.
2.     Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
3.     Combine the honey and melted butter in a medium sized bowl.
4.     In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand held mixer, combine  the eggs and sugar.   With the mixer at high speed, beat until the mixture is tripled in volume. This will take 8-10 minutes of mixing at high speed. 

5.     Using a spatula fold in 1/3rd of the egg mixture into the melted butter and honey.  Then add this back into the egg mixture, fold gently.
6.     Sift the dry ingredients over  egg mixture, in two increments.

7.     Do not over mix.

8.     Put the batter into the piping bag. (it will be loose)
9.     Pipe the batter into the shells – slightly below the top of the pan.

10.Chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
11.Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.
12.At 12 minutes, test for doneness by inserting a skewer in the center – it should come out clean.
13. If the madeleines do not test clean, return them to the oven for 3-4 more minutes.
14. Let cool in the pan for about 5  minutes, then carefully remove the madeleines and move them to a cooling rack.

1.     Combine the melted butter and honey.
2.     Brush on madeleines while still warm.

       The madeleines can be piped, wrapped and frozen for up to one month.
       Bake them from the frozen state and allow additional 10-12 minutes for baking.
       The madeleines are best eaten the day they are made. They will keep well  wrapped and              frozen, after baking for up to one month.
       Thaw at room temperature for several hours at room temperature.

***Thank you Carol for proofreading this recipe. We need your eagle eye as I type way too fast.

Hello Bakers,

In the past few weeks, I have gotten several requests for a good biscuit recipe.
This led me to think that maybe biscuits would be a great blog post.
The following biscuit recipe is a particular favorite.
It is quick and easy, uses milk not buttermilk and uses only baking powder -
making it very accessible to the baker who wants to get some hot and delicious
biscuits on the table - without having to think about ingredients.

Most of us have milk and baking powder in our kitchens and if you are reading this
blog - you most likely have unbleached all purpose flour (King Arthur) in your cupboard as well.
This recipe uses butter - pure unsalted delicious butter.

This is one of those recipes where the butter flavor is the star.
Often I am asked by students "when do you use a premium butter and when is a regular unsalted
butter OK to use in your baking?"
When butter is the predominant flavor - spend up and get the good stuff.
Recipes like biscuits, pie crust. croissants, puff pastry, quick puff pastry and butter cookies (like shortbread) are all better with made with premium butter - after you have mastered the technique of that particular recipe.
Use a supermarket butter when the recipe has lots of sugar, chocolate and other flavors - cakes,
muffins and brownies are good examples of where I would use Trader Joe's unsalted butter.

In these biscuits, I used unsalted  Plugra which is a delicious European Style butter.
Another one of my favorite brands of butter is Challenge Butter.
Challenge Butter is local to California and never uses milk from cows that have been treated with rbST.
Kerrygold is another delicious choice but needs to be cubed and frozen first. Kerrygold cows are grass fed which is why their butter softens up so quickly.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and add it to your repertoire - it will surely make your loved ones smile
to see hot biscuits on the table for dinner.
BTW - they are also great with sausage gravy. Yum!
P.S. You can easy cut the recipe in half - that's why I wrote it in grams. :)
Happy Baking!

Flaky Buttery Biscuits
     Oven 400 conventional or 375 convection
      Pan Prep:
Line a sheet tray with parchment paper
Makes 18 2” biscuits

450g unbeached all purpose flour
8g salt
22g granulated sugar
18g baking powder
180g unsalted butter – cubed and keep cold
270g (ml) milk  Sift all the dry ingredients together.

1.       Cut in the butter – the mixture should look like corn flakes.  A plastic bowl scraper works great for this.

2.       Add the milk.
3.       Combine working the flour into the liquid, push the liquid into the flour with the bowl scraper,
against the side of the bowl. This is how you build layers.

The mixture will begin to come together and there should be no floury residue on the bottom of the bowl.

4.       Transfer the dough to a work surface andf fold a few times until it comes together – do not overwork.
5.       Roll out the dough to 1/2-5/8” thickness. Cut with a floured cutter and place the biscuits on the lined sheet pan.

6.       Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up the fat.
7.       Brush the tops with a little milk – this keeps the crust soft.
8.       Bake at 400 until the tops are light brown – start checking in 12-14 minutes.
9.       They should be golden brown and delicious. Make sure to pick one up carefully – make sure they feel light.
Leftover biscuits can be frozen for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature for several hours and then refresh in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.

Hello Bakers,

There are only four days left to Valentine's Day. Here is a lovely romantic macaron to bake for your Valentine - Rose petal and Sea Salt with Champagne Buttercream.

A few weeks ago, I taught this macaron at Great News Cooking School in sunny San Diego.
For those of you who don't know Great News, it is located in Pacific Beach.
Please check it out at I love teaching there. They offer classes and their
shop is stocked with great kitchen equipment.
This recipe was a particular hit with the class and I thought that you all might enjoy it too.
Especially, if you are looking for a handmade and delicious Valentine gift.

For those of you who have taken any of my on ground macaron classes at Sur La Table or my Craftsy class,  French  Miniature Desserts, the techniques are the same.

The Rose Petals and Sea Salt were a great find.
Usually when I make rose petal macarons, I use Tampico rose petals from the spice section at the grocery store or a rose tea from Teavana or Bird Pick.
The rose petals are ground up with the almond meal and confectioner's sugar so either works well.
But I had a feeling that there was something better out there....
Running through the Farmer's Market looking for more rose petals - I had a flash of insight - maybe Dragunura, (the spice shop) would have rose petals - well they did - blended with sea salt no less.
A rose petal/sea salt blend is also available at Spice Station in Silverlake and at other Spice Station locations as well.

These rose petals were food grade, had a beautiful color and were the perfect size. The only problem was that I wasn't quite sure if the salt would effect the shell.
You all know how worried we are about adding anything to the shell.
Long story long - they turned out great - nothing bad happened. I was thrilled.
To keep the feeling of romance strong, I paired this with a lovely Champagne buttercream.
Amoretti flavorings makes a delicious Champagne extract - there are also directions for reducing Champagne or Sparkling Wine to get the same effect - Please do not use the good Champagne in this buttercream - drink it with the macarons.

Here is the recipe. I hope you add this recipe to your macaron repertoire. They are delicious.
If you stay up all night baking them, it's ok - your Valentine will love you all that much more for your efforts.
Please let me know if you have questions - I am here to help.
Happy Valentine's Day Bakers!
It's your day to show off and show your loved ones how much you care>
Happy Baking!

Rose Petal  Macarons (French Meringue)
Makes 30-35 macaron sandwiches 
Note: recipe may be cut in half

Stand or Hand held mixer
Large bowl
Flat rubber spatula
Food processor
Piping bag
#12 Wilton tip or Ateco #803 or any plain round tip with a 3/8” diameter opening

198g sugar
113g  almond meal
113g egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
2 teaspoon pulverized edible, dried rose petals
100g granulated sugar
2 drops of vanilla extract
3 drops of rose extract or rose water

Food coloring – gel colors Wilton or Americolor
Preheat oven to 330 degrees

1.   Pulse the powdered sugar, almond meal and the rose petals in a food processor until it looks like fine meal – about 15 seconds.

2.   Whip the egg with the cream of tartar until the look like light foam.
3.   Rain in sugar – whip on medium high speed until soft peaks form.
The meringue should resemble still be soft and shiny
 Add color if desired and vanilla extract.
4.   Whip until the meringue is at medium stiff peaks.

5.   Transfer to a medium sized bowl.
6.   Fold in the almond meal and powdered sugar in three increments.
7.   Macaronnage until the mixture slides slowly down the bowl.

8.   Pipe.

9.   Let dry until they form a skin. ( 15 - 20 minutes)
10.                Bake at 330 degrees. Check in 10 minutes
11.                If their tops slide then bake for 2 more minutes.
12.                Do not try to remove from parchment or silpat until completely cool

Champagne Buttercream

Storage: Five days refrigerated
Freezer: One month

Whisk attachment
Saucepan –
Instant read thermometer

2 ounces Egg whites
5 ounces granulated sugar

8 ounces butter – cubed and chilled
1 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or ½ vanilla bean scraped + ½  teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons reduced sparkling wine or Champagne
Or 1 teaspoon champagne extract  (available through Amoretti
Pink and Red Wilton Gel Color


1.   Place egg whites and sugar in mixer bowl.
2.   Set bowl over a medium saucepan filled 1/3rd of the way with simmering water. ( The bottom of the mixer bowl should not touch the water)
3.   Whisk on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture registers 156 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
4.   Remove the bowl from the heat and attach it the stand mixer. If using a hand mixer – make sure the bowl is stable.
5.   Whisk on medium high speed until the mixture is at room temperature.
This can take 4-6 minutes.
6.   Add the butter one piece at a time – adding each additional piece as the previous one disappears.
7.   When all the butter is added and the mixture looks fluffy and well emulsified – change to the paddle attachment.

8.   On low speed add in the vanilla and Champagne extract.

Leftover assembled macarons should be refrigerated.

Rose Macaron assembly
Rose Petal and Sea Salt Shells
Champagne Buttercream