In honor of the merry, merry month of May, Christine brings us… Madeleines!
With this cookie, we go back to the very beginning of the series, to The Secret History of the Pink Carnation….
And now over to Christine!
In the Spring of 1803, Amy Balcourt, along with her cousin Jane Wooliston, and chaperone, Gwen Meadows, set sail for France, which would lead to the birth of the Pink Carnation. It’s been a long, cold winter, but spring has finally definitely arrived (or at least, at the time of this writing, I hope it has!), so we celebrate Miss Amy, the Purple Gentian, the Pink Carnation, and France with Madeleines.
The only previous experience I’ve had with Madeleines are a desperation hunger grab during a trip to Starbucks and that episode of “Friends” when Ross described Freddie Prinze Jr.’s Madeleines as “lighter than air.”
There are about a million Madeleine recipes online but I opted for one that looked simple enough, for the novice baker, and had a ton of great reviews (the only negative review said that Madeleines should not be light and airy, but rather should be dense and buttery, like the ones at Starbucks. I decided to stick with the opinions of the 100 other people who said it was a good recipe).
The recipe below is taken from allrecipes.com:
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest (I substituted orange)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar for decoration (the recipe says granulated sugar but I assume that’s a mistake based on every picture of Madeleines I’ve ever seen)
1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease 12-Madeleine pan.
2. Melt butter and let cool to room temperature.
3. Beat eggs, vanilla and salt together at a high speed until airy (this only took about a minute).
4. While continuing to beat, add the granulated sugar. Continuing beating until the mixture is thick and forms ribbons when the beaters are lifted. This will take about 5-10 minutes (mine looked somewhere between thin frosting and thick pancake batter).
5. Sift flour into egg mixture, 1/3 at a time, gently folding.
6. Add lemon (or orange) zest, then pour butter around the edge of the mixture. Quickly but gently, fold it in.
7. Spoon batter into the pan. The batter will mound over the tops.
8. Bake 14-17 minutes. Cakes should spring back when you gently press a finger into them.
9. Loosen the Madeleines with the tip of a knife and invert onto a wire rack to cool, with the shell-side facing up (I had greased a non-stick pan and they slid out without any effort).
10. Quickly dust the hot Madeleines with powdered sugar (I used far less than the 1/3 cup stated in the recipe).
This was actually much easier than I thought it would be, and they came out looking good. Well, the dusting could’ve been neater, but the cakes were pretty. I baked them for 15 minutes and I think they were a tad over-baked. A little too dense and crunchy along the edges (though I LOVE crunchy cookies). And absolutely delicious.
I consider my first foray into Madeleines close to a success, and I’m looking forward to trying some of the ones on this impressive list from Huffington Post.
Don’t those look amazing? I am thrilled to hear that these were easier than they look, because they are very popular chez moi– and those little boxes of them from the supermarket don’t tend to last long. (My spouse swears it’s the fault of Francophile gnomes.)
Thank you so much, Christine! I will definitely be trying this recipe.
Here’s the big question: lemon zest, orange zest, or plain?