There’s something about Madeleines that I love. To me, they are simply the most beautiful baked good; part cookie, part cake; usually scented with a touch of lemon. They were one of my favorite things to bake when I worked at Bouchon bakery.
As with many recipes, I already have a favorite Madeleine recipe. My go-to recipe was posted in Gourmet magazine back in 2006. It has honey, and the flavor is absolutely perfect, sweet yet delicate. Knowing how great all of Dorie’s past recipes have been, I was excited to see how the recipes compared.
The recipe itself was extremely easy. Whip eggs with sugar/lemon mixture till light, fold in dries, then fold in melted butter. I love recipes that take less than a few minutes to make. I piped the batter into my Madeleine molds because it is so much easier (and cleaner) than plopping spoonfuls in. I have what I think are traditional sized madeleine pans, but my yield was more than 12. I ended up with 20 Madeleines. Then I had to wait 3 hours to bake them off.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock…
As luck would have it, I had something to bake off while I was waiting for my Madeleines to chill.
Last week, I made the croissant dough from Baking with Julia. This morning I shaped them into crescent shapes, and then set them aside to proof. My kitchen is extremely cold (aside from the oven, there’s no heat in it). The recipe said it would take 3 to 4 hours to proof. They actually took 6 hours before they were fully proofed. We went from having afternoon tea with fresh croissants, to having a dinner of croissants sandwiched with gruyere and ham with a side salad. Believe me when I say, they were worth the wait. Absolutely amazing flake and so buttery. I used Plugra (butter), which made them stand out even more. I’ve already eaten one and a half croissants and they’ve been out of the oven for only an hour. I better put some in the freezer soon, or else I’m will be feeling very guilty tomorrow. My only problem with the croissants is dissatisfaction with the person who shaped them (me), they look a bit like crabs.
Back to the Madeleines.
They baked in 11 minutes. Once they were out of the oven, I played around with them a bit. Chocolate on some, a lemon glaze on others and confectioners sugar on the rest. The overall flavor of the madelines was nice. They were more cookie than cake; I like them the other way around.
I prefer the recipe from Gourmet to this Madeline recipe. Unfortunately, I'm not the only person with an opinion in my household :) My husband loved this recipe declaring it "the best Madeleine he's ever had." Looks like I'll be making these again.
Here's the recipe for Traditional Madeleines:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines. (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)
GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan (or pans), give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven's heat will take care of that. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.
If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pan(s) before baking.
Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioners' sugar.
makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies
serving: Serve the cookies when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature, with tea or espresso.
storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If you must store them, wrap them airtight and freeze them; they'll keep for up to 2 months.