Friday, February 10, 2012

3 Valentine's Day Treats from Les Madeleines in Salt Lake City

By Becky Olsen from Utah Loves Cupcakes and Project Domestication.

Today's post is from one of our newest contributors, Becky Olsen. Becky is a Utah native and proud of it. Whether it’s scoping out a local bakery to try their signature item, attending an art exhibit or joining the nearest CSA, she loves to support local. Becky authors two sweet-centric blogs: Utah Loves Cupcakes and Project Domestication, which chronicles her journey in baking, cooking and all things domestic. Becky recently completed every single recipe from what she deems ‘the best baking cookbook of all time’ by Dorie Greenspan. It took her 3 years and 3 months and it was completely delicious! She loves using high-quality, local ingredients, especially if it means learning something new and being able to enjoy a special treat with those she loves.

I rarely visit Salt Lake City without a stop to Les Madeleines. In fact, I always make sure I have quarters in my car so I can stop by for breakfast or lunch when I'm up in the SLC for business. In fact, even if I just have a dime, I know I can run in, hurry and buy a Kouing Aman and be set! Les Madeleines is famous for that special pastry. They've been featured on Food Network, Food & Wine, USA Today and much more. But the Kouing Aman only skims the surface of the brilliance behind Romina Rasmussen's patisserie and cafe. I dream of waking up to her egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast, I crave her individual tarte tatins and I kick myself every time I leave and haven't tried the mac n' cheese. Each item on the menu is inspired by the chef's extensive world travels and illustrates the depth of her culinary expertise. I want to tell you about three special pastries I love and recommend--you'd be a fool not to treat yourself and your sweetheart to these pastries this Valentine's Day.

I've been making my stops around Salt Lake and Utah County bakeries for linzer sables, and let's just say the other didn't quite make the cut. Les Madeleines' linzer cookies is perfection. That buttery cookie with the nutty crunch is even dressed up for Valentine's Day with a special heart cutout. Les Madeleines' linzer cookies have the flavor and texture you'd expect from ground nuts, yet you smile when that same crunchy goodness melt right in your mouth.

The crunch and nuttiness of the linzer cookies are balanced by the sweet fruitiness of homemade berry preserves. This I think, is my favorite part of the cookie. The delightful raspberry preserves are bright and remind me of picking homegrown berries in the warm August sun. Buy these cookies. And buy them by the dozen.

Les Madeleines is also known for their buttons. What other patisseries and bakeries may call French Macaroons, Les Madeleines calls buttons. Les Madeleines has been making these meringue-based confections forever and they know how to make them perfectly. They come in a variety of flavors like passion fruit, strawberry, pineapple, green tea, hazelnut, coffee, pistachio (my favorite), black sesame and the raspberry I tried just the other day...and that's just to name a few.

The meringue cookies are filled with the most perfect cream. Biting through the button's delicate crust is effortless. From there you are brought to the soft and chewy center of the cookie and then the delightful cream center. These treats are sweet, but never too sweet and always flavorful. When Les Madeleines says they serve a raspberry button, you are getting real raspberry flavor. 

And last but certainly not least is Les Madeleines' Vegas, Baby! Cupcake. Les Madeleines only makes these in February, and I honestly start counting down the days when in December when I can make the drive to purchase them. Head on over to Project Domestication to see why I love them so much!

Les Madeleines Patisserie on Urbanspoon