New Year, MasterClass, & Madeleines

For most of my adult life, my “skills” in the kitchen have been laughable. I was NOT a good cook. I was NOT a good baker. My most used item in the kitchen was the first aid kit. I’m not kidding. My sweet, wonderful, loving husband has suffered for many years and has graciously lied to me about my “interesting” potatoes, my dry steaks, and my over salted soups. However, all those years of failures have taught me SO MUCH and I am finally starting to figure my way around a kitchen. It is an incredible feeling.

As I am starting to tackle meals and baked goods that are a lot more complicated, I’ve realized that I have a lot more to learn. That is why I decided to really make an effort this year to learn culinary techniques and expand my skillset in the kitchen!

Luckily for me, Mr. San Diego is super supportive of all my endeavors and he got me the perfect gift to help me become a better chef and baker this year! He bought me a subscription to MasterClass!!!! For those who are not familiar with the program, it is a series of video lessons on specific disciplines from teachers who are experts in their fields. Gordon Ramsay and Thomas Keller both have two incredible lesson plans. Dominique Ansel has a class on French Pastry Fundamentals. I’ve already watched a few of their classes and I have learned SOOO MUCH already! I am over the moon and I plan on practicing and perfecting everything they teach!

the mini madeleine

To start my education this new year, I decided to start with Dominique Ansel’s lesson plan because I am obviously obsessed with baking and he invented the CRONUT! Unfortunately, he doesn’t share his cronut secrets but he does start off with a lesson in mini madeleines!


Who knew that something so small and simple required so much technique and understanding? When something bakes fast and is so small, a matter of seconds could make a huge difference. I learned that lesson VERY quickly.

The photo below shows the five different batches of madeleines that I made and they were all from the exact same batter. Depending on whether they were in the middle of the madeleine pan or sat in the oven for ten seconds more or ten seconds less, the results were completed varied! It was fascinating! A perfect madeleine has a “hump” on the exposed side and I finally got a great hump on my fifth try.

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There are two really important things that I learned from Dominique’s mini madeleine lesson. The first is that anything with baking powder needs at least twelve hours to set. The second is that madeleines taste best immediately after they come out of the oven. Seriously, they were DELICIOUS and I never want to eat a cold madeleine ever again.

I can’t wait to make these the next time I have guests over. They are such a cozy and delicate dessert and would be great any time of day! This is going to be a GREAT year and I am so excited to try the next dessert on the lesson plan. Fingers crossed it all goes well!

Enjoy! xoxo