Friday, September 23, 2011

French Poodles

I don't know if I'm a stickler for tradition or merely set in my ways, but I love designated family dinner nights.  Regardless of television shows, house guests, or a mere lack of desire the family sits together, eats a meal and learns to coexist.  So, when the my oldest child's soccer practice threatened a scheduled family dinner, I refused to see the tradition die.  We now enjoy an early bird special one night week.  With dinner and dishes finished by 6:00, a new tradition was born: baking night with my youngest.  As the oldest heads out the door with her cleats, the youngest and I grab flour and sugar and promise warm cookies after practice.  This week, we elevated our baking efforts with Dorie Greenspan's elegant French Madeleines.  We then balanced that elegance by making dog biscuits.  Balance: it's the key to parenthood and its largest hurdle.

Perhaps it's their French heritage, but I expected Madeleines to be difficult; they were not in the least.  In fact, it took no more than fifteen minutes for me and my four year old sous chef to bring together the batter and place it in the fridge to chill.   After a quick clean up, and a new mise en place (a true necessity when cooking with your children) we were ready to offer culinary excellence to our beloved doggie.
Growing up, my mother would prepare a 'stew' for our family pets.  It consisted of dry dog food, hot water and mix-it.  It smelled horrific; hence, the dogs were only fed in our laundry room, and mealtime was quickly followed by a thorough clean up.  As I prepared to make dog food in my kitchen, I was a bit worried about the pending aroma.  I'm happy to report that these treats not only utilize typical pantry staples, but lend the homey smell of freshly baked muffins.  As these treats cooled, the chilled Madeleine dough was placed into molds and baked to a beautiful brown.

Peanut Butter- Banana Dog Treats
Recipe Created by: Rachel Ray 
1 egg
2 TB honey
2 bananas, mashed with a fork
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, whisk together the egg, honey, bananas and peanut butter.  Stir in 3 cups of water; whisk until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon; add to the egg mixture.  
  3. Spray two 12 cup muffin pans with cooking spray; fill each cup three quarters full.  Bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool. 
With a plate of warm cookies prepared for our pre-teen, and a plate of fresh biscuits prepared for our pup all was well in the Pierce household.  Well, for that evening anyway.  It is amazing how an interruption can shake up routine just enough to make an improvement.

These Madeleines are another fantastic recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Around my French Table.  I highly recommend picking up a copy and visiting for more blogs on how this recipe was enjoyed at hundreds of tables this week.   



    1. That's a wonderful new tradition to bake with your youngest while the oldest is at practice. There's nothing like some valuable one-on-one time with Mom!

    2. Lovely madeleines. I have to get a pan!!

      LOVE the dog biscuits. Our's wouldn't know hoe to act if I made them homemade biscuits.

    3. What a sweet post. Families are indeed about balance, and I'm glad you are finding some with your early bird dinners + baking.

    4. LOL -- I am glad the doggies didn't miss out. The madeleines turned out really well - so pretty.

    5. How fun! I always love it when I get to do something with one kid while the other one is off doing "their thing".

    6. love the tradition! no matter what, we always sat down together for dinner at about the same time every night when I was growing up, with as many family members were present, or earlier if there was a recital or something else. What a great way to wind down the evening one night a week though! I heart baking!

    7. What a nice set of traditions that has something for everyone, including the dog. I was surprised that these were so easy and elegant.

    8. I was always a stickler for the family night dinner when my kids were growing up. It is such an important time to catch up with one another and to know what's going on in their lives. Your baking night with your youngest sounds is a great tradition and what a great idea to balance it with treats for another member of the family!

    9. at home for dinner. We did it every night, but now it is becoming just a nice idea. Sad. Traditions are great and having a pet and treating the pet kindly and with love is wonderful too. Good for you to make all these treats. And I keep cooking which brings home my family...7 kids all gone from home now, but someone comes home every day just for the food.

    10. That's wonderful that you have a baking tradition with your youngest. Wonderful for the family AND the dog! Your madeleines turned out beautifully.

    11. I love that you made your dog cookies too! Will have to try that recipe for my Sasha. Didn't you just love how easy the Madeleine recipe was - I was also expecting it to be much more complicated.