OH! What a fantastic morning! I woke up fairly early (and I use that word "early" quite lightly) and decided to do it. Do what? Bake Madeleines once and for all. I couldn't believe I've had that gorgeous Madeleine pan for months and months but haven't used it...till this morning! These pretty little scalloped babies are my sister's favorite and mine too. It's hard to see them in any North American bakery, but they are quite popular in Seoul, Korea (and France, I'm assuming). These soft "cookies" are more like mini sponge cakes and have a variety of flavors, from lemon to rosewater to lavender. All in all, they are perfectly elegant, perfectly delightful, perfectly perfect.
Anywho, I've searched for the perfect recipe for many a months, but never tried any of them. I don't know, to be honest, I think I was scared to make them, in fear that it will ruin my idea and love for the perfect Madeleine. What if turns out to be a disaster? But today I decided to brave it all and bust out the beautiful aluminum pan I bought at Williams-Sonoma a while back. No longer shall it be just a pretty novelty piece of mine!
So there is the backdrop. :P Recipe time: I decided to use the recipe from 101 Cookbooks. Something about her I trust completely. She seems to know what she's doing. And yup! She did not disappoint. The recipe is fairly easy and simple but required a new technique for me (Brown Buttering.. I burned my first pot of butter. Eeek.) And I was extremely nervous.. But when they came out of the oven I had a big big smile! The smell was great, the texture was great, the scalloped ridges were great. They are fluffy and spongy and light. The flavor is perfect lemony-sweet. Oh and did it compliment a cup of tea fantastically!
I sound a bit excited, but these are worth being excited for! I can't believe I've recreated THE Madeleine! It's a big deal for me. :D And I can't wait till my mom comes home so that I can bake it for her and her friends for afternoon tea or something! It will surely be a hit. So Madeleines are my new "thing" now! Love it!
makes 2-3 dozen Madeleines
from 101 Cookbooks
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan
Special equipment: A madeleine baking pan, regular or small Metal pans are way better (and cooler) than silicon pans. They say that the ridges are more defined and give a golden hue.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it's brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. OKAY. This part. 20 minutes was way too long for me, because by 15 minutes, my butter was burnt and toasted. The second time I did it I reduced it to about 10-12 minutes.Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) - you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling.
3. While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to grease the madeleine molds - get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour. Lanha uses "cooking spray" with flour to simplify this part.
4. Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until thick - you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume - approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed).
5. Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together.
6. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 –3/4 full. I use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable, it is easier than using a spoon.
7. Bake the madeleines for 12 - 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.