Join us, as my lovely friend Monita and I celebrate our first Friendaversary with gorgeous Chocolate Madeleines, Brookies (Brownie Cookies!) and our shared love for the ‘Gilmore Girls’ in a sweet, virtual get together! 🙂 ❤
Foreword: Friendship can be tricky. With the feelings, responsibilities and lives of two people involved, it can often be difficult to find common ground. Maybe that’s why so many childhood friendships fizzle out as each one embarks on navigating life, carving an entirely different path of their own. I’ve experienced the same far too many times. Which is why I am constantly surprised and forever grateful for the friendship I share with Monita Sen! ❤
We couldn’t be leading more different lives. She lives all the way across the globe in Toronto, Canada, while I live in Mumbai, India. There’s a big age gap between us and hence, we are at two very different stages in our lives – she’s stable and grounded, having found her space and purpose, yet forever forging forward; while I’m still dodging, finding my way, making a mistake here, a misstep there, yet also forging forward. Even so, we’ve found a way, to become and remain friends, despite the different time zones; bound together by our love for food, ‘Gilmore Girls’ and the joy we get by cheering each other on!
For the 15th of November, 2017, Monita and I completed a year of friendship, without having ever met in person. 🙂 So, we invite you to our little virtual Friendaversary soiree with these gorgeous Chocolate Madeleines and Brookies for us all to enjoy! ❤ Be warned, it’s a really long blog post. If you’re here for just the recipes for the Chocolate Madeleines and Brookies, scroll all the way to the end! 😉
Monita Sen talks about this unique bond and the role ‘Gilmore Girls’ played in it…
Winola has been a friend, a guide, a mentor, a sounding board; one of the coolest friends I could have ever come across on social media, of all places. I cannot help but be brimming with cheer once I’ve had a chat with her. Friends like her are rare and precious, especially when you have a public Instagram account open to scrutiny, plagiarism, discourteous behaviour, algorithm conundrums, and losing time to keeping up with Instagram. You need a sane and down-to-earth friend to help you come back to ground control. Winola has been there for me for a whole year and the nature of our friendship is that of fun, kindness and support as we both journey through our lives as passionate, creative people.
How did we meet? A year ago I received the most delightful message on Instagram from Winola, a fellow ‘Gilmore Girls’ fan, about my 30 day challenge/celebration to cook 30 different dishes, named and seen on the series. It was to mark down each day with a tribute to the show and to ring in the premiere date of 25th November, 2016, of the long awaited revival – ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’, on Netflix. I thought there would be more of us GG fans out there going bonkers, composing poetry, chiseling sculptures of Lorelai and Rory, or performing flash mob scenes from Stars Hollow. To my shock I was the only nerd, as far as I could tell, who was recreating some of the most inspiring foods seen on the show. If you’ve watched the show then you know how food-centric it is!
At that point only a few kind souls were following me. Well, one of those five people happened to be my now dear friend Winola. It was a year ago she left me a lovely note about her love of the ‘Gilmore Girls’ and how excited she was to watch the long-awaited conclusion to the saga of the Gilmore women. She noted the work and effort that went into a 30 day tribute challenge, and how she enjoyed my stories. She made me feel like a million bucks!
We went back and forth on direct message like two teenage girls, having a blast talking about food and our favourite scenes from the show. I fell in love with her incredible baking and obviously her amazing writing! Her photography was amazing and then I noticed how she keeps evolving and growing. It also inspired me to evolve and grow, within my limits, with my photography. It has been a blessed friendship that helps us to keep on doing better. I’m a hundred percent in Winola’s corner, cheering her on, as she is with me. This is what I define as a mature and endearing friendship.
Though we are separated by continents, a half a day time difference, a generation or two, we are like two peas in a pod. This is extraordinary for me. I’m enormously difficult to get to know and frankly, I’m a bit of a misanthrope. If left to my own devices I would be a friendless spinster. At first I thought she was just too good to be true, and as time passed and she kept on encouraging me and showing me her support; my confidence grew, my enthusiasm doubled, and I learned the value of having someone to talk to when you’re new on social media and learning the ropes. Though we have never met in person, I feel incredibly safe with her. She is young and yet she is full of enormous wisdom and grace, a rarity amongst us all. I’m grateful for her feedback on certain decisions that saved me a great deal of time and effort. Her professional eye and understanding of the world food and writing are a gift I never expected.
Winola Peris reflects on the mutual love, encouragement and appreciation that sustains this friendship…
I must admit that I’ve had trouble maintaining friendships in the past, and even today I struggle with staying on the same page with really close friends. ‘Drifting apart’ happens far too often for my liking. But with Monita, it’s different. Yes, strong friendships take a lot of work and understanding. But it has never felt like we needed to ‘work’ at it to be on the same plain. The beauty of our friendship is the acceptance that comes with it. Somewhere among the age gap, different time zones and poles-apart lives, we’ve found this sweet bond that is effortless and natural and honest – all things great friendships should be! 🙂
Monita is brimming with sage advice, and every time I’ve come to her with a problem, when she’s done helping me, I’ve been left feeling at ease and happy. I know it’s unlikely that one would feel comfortable confiding in someone they’ve never met, but this confidence and comfort comes easily with Monita and I truly cherish it!
Without a doubt, my food blogging journey has been made so much more special by this incredible soul! Together we’ve celebrated the big and small victories and successes, fussed over the pains that mar the world of social media and blogging and have found solace in each other’s feedback. Right from the start, we had established this little mutual-admiration-society-for-two and even today we’re constantly inspiring each other to do our best work and be our best selves! Knowing I have Monita in my corner, makes this very hard, grueling journey called life beautiful and worthwhile! ❤
Chocolate Madeleines by Monita Sen
In celebration of our 1 year friendaversary, we both decided to do a virtual get together, the theme being chocolate. If we lived near one another, there is no doubt she and I would be baking up a storm together, hanging out at coffee shops, making fun of people we can’t stand. So, for our virtual celebration I decided to make these luscious French Chocolate Madeleines, recipe courtesy www.thespruce.com. I replaced the all-purpose flour with cake and pastry flour and the melted butter with ghee. The ghee and the use of finer milled flour made for a much more delicate and moist crumb, with a flavour that is out of this world. I think my girl Winola would love this! To take it up an extra special notch, I dipped these in chocolate crack, a concoction of dark chocolate, coconut oil, and light corn syrup, for that viscous sheen! 😉
This recipe makes 12 servings. Here’s what you need:
- Ghee (Clarified Butter) – 1/2 cup
- Granulated Sugar – 2/3 cup
- Bittersweet Chocolate – 113 g, melted
- Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
- Eggs – 3
- Cake Flour – 1 cup
- Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
Here’s how you make these classic French beauties:
- Using a hand mixer, cream ghee and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Turning your mixer down to a low speed setting, beat in one egg at a time, ensuring to scrape down the sides whenever needed.
- Once the eggs are incorporated, beat the mixture on medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture has lightened in colour a bit and is very fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Using a spatula, very gently fold the flour and baking powder into the prepared batter. Once smooth, cover it and leave it to chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 190 °C/ 375 °F. Generously grease madeleine moulds and and spoon the cold batter into them. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until they are puffed and lightly browned.
- Turn the madeleines over on to a wire rack, tapping the mould hard if needed. Serve them warm, dusted with a bit of icing sugar or dip them in chocolate crack and enjoy!
Brookies by Winola Peris
When I think of a befitting treat to bake for my girl Monita, I know it’s got to be something dark, rich, indulgent and simply lip-smacking! And that’s exactly what you get in these sumptuous Brookies. These are inspired by MasterChef Australia’s Harry Foster’s recipe with a few tweaks of my own which work like a charm! The end result – crackling crusty cookies, which when bitten into, make way for soft, super gooey and melt-in-the-mouth centres. These are aptly named Brookies – Brownie Cookies, both in the technique involved in making them and the indulgent gastronomical experience they present! Sinful, decadent, a chocoholic’s dream and just perfect for a girls’ night in! ❤
This recipe makes 6 brookies. Here’s what you need:
- Dark Chocolate – 117 g
- Unsalted Butter – 20 g
- Caster Sugar – 75 g
- All-Purpose Flour – 27 g
- Cocoa Powder – 1 tbsp
- Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Egg – 1
- Vanilla Extract – 3/4 tsp
- Flaky Sea Salt – for garnishing
Here’s how you make these dark, gooey Brookies:
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C/ 350 °F. Place the dark chocolate and butter in a bowl fitted over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally and once melted, take it off the heat. Set aside to cool.
- In another bowl, cream the egg, sugar, baking powder, flour, cocoa powder and vanilla until well incorporated, light and fluffy. (You can do this by hand with a whisk or use an electric hand mixer.) Add in the melted chocolate and mix until combined.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon tablespoons of the batter onto it. You would need to shaped them into circles with your spoon, but don’t worry about them being too perfect; rusty is good! Bake the cookies for 12 minutes and pull them out of the oven immediately.
- Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the cookies, transfer them on to a wire rack and leave aside to cool. Do resist the urge to pop one straight into your mouth as the gooey centres will be scalding!
Monita: In the photographs from my contribution to to this post you will see posters from the ‘Gilmore Girls’ television series, as a marker of the origin of our shared history. Happy 1 year friendaversary, Winola! I look forward to many more fabulous years of growth and success, and also to finally meet you one day. In the meantime, let’s eat and binge on Gilmore Girls!
Winola: This post is really close to my heart and I have to thank Monita for making it possible! ❤ Thank you so much for being the amazing friend that you are! This one-of-a-kind bond we share is something I’ll always cherish! Happy Friendaversary to you and I look forward to many more years of great food, exciting projects, lots of conversation, more laughs and hopefully more new seasons of ‘Gilmore Girls’ to binge on! ❤ 😉
We hope you’ve enjoyed our little celebration of friendship, chocolate and ‘Gilmore Girls’ as much as we did putting this collaborative post together for you! We’re so excited to share this sweet part of our lives! ❤ Now we’re off to savouring these gorgeous Chocolate Madeleines and Brookies, as we hope you are too! 😀 Lorelai and Rory would be proud! 😉