December 17, 2008

Perfect Madeleines

This is the first time I've made madeleines.  My mom bought a pan for them last summer but since I am so rarely home I haven't had a chance to try it out.  But now it's winter break and with a month off from school I have plenty of time for baking.  Plus baked goods are the perfect gift, especially since I love making them.  These cookies are wonderful to give away because they always look gorgeous thanks to the sea shell shaped molds they are baked in. 

My mom has a recipe for coconut madeleines and as much as I love coconut the flavor isn't really what I'm in the mood for around the holidays.  I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks and it looked perfect.  Simple, flavorful and reliable. Heidi says her friend Lahna has been using this recipe for years.  

And it was everything I expected it to be.  The flavors were subtle but definitely present and the cookie seemed both light and rich at the same time.  I think the browned butter really adds to these.  Also, madeleines are great because they are a nice in-between.  Not quite a cookie and not quite a cupcake.  They make a lovely snack with a nice hot cup of black tea.

Adapted from  101 Cookbooks
Makes 2- 3 dozen

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used bleached)
4 large eggs
a pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

extra butter for greasing pan
extra flour for pan
powdered sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat until brown and nutty smelling, about 20 mins.  Strain with a paper towel or mesh strainer to get ride of solids (I was getting rid of burned crusty bits- ew). Cool butter to room temperature and work on the rest of the recipe as the butter cools.

Grease pan, make sure to get all of the ridges, then flour.  Put eggs and salt in a bowl and beat until thick (double or triple the volume you started with) about 3 minutes with an electric mixer.  I did this by hand so it took a bit longer.  Continue mixing and add the sugar in a steady stream.  Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony.  Next fold in lemon zest and vanilla until just combined.

Sprinkle in the flour and fold to combine.  Then fold in the butter mixture only stirring to bring everything together.  (I am compulsive over-mixer so recipes like this are always tough for me)

Pour the batter into a liquid measuring cup such as a pyrex and then pour into madeleine molds until 2/3- 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 12- 14 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.  Unmold immediately after removing from the oven.  Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.

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