Venus Madeleines

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Gold and butter. Botticelli and madeleines. Perhaps unusual combinations at first… but they go together beautifully.

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These small but decadent, lemony little French cakes, gilded like Venus’ shell in The Birth of Venus, are just as sumptuous (albeit in a smaller dose) as the Renaissance masterpiece itself.

Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus

This little project would probably be too cutesy… if they weren’t gold. Gold is never cutesy. Only awesome.

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If you’re really dorky like me, you’ll even get a kick out of the painterly way you buttered and floured the pan. (Has anyone else figured out that trick? Melt your butter and brush it on, then flour! So much easier than swiping a stick of butter unevenly all over the place.)

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Madeleines are also an excellent secret baking weapon. They are the perfect things to bring to a party, because they are unusual, but are also easy to make. (The French name probably helps with the impressiveness factor.) You don’t even have to wait for butter to come to room temperature, since you melt it. All you need is a madeleine pan.

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And luster dust? Oh my goodness. What gorgeous, fun stuff.

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And, by the way, next time I make these, I’m going all Mediterranean — blood orange flavored instead of lemon! Continue reading

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