Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2000 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Variations: Basic Genoise Cake Tutorial; Bittersweet Chocolate Madeleines; Lemon-Poppy Seed Madeleines
Photos by Sarah Phillips © 2000 Sarah Phillips
SARAH SAYS: I added 1 teaspoon of chopped culinary lavender to the batter before baking mine.
Madeleines are very small cakes, made from Genoise Cake batter. Most distinctive about these cookies, which date back to the court of King Stanislas Leszczynski in the early 1700s, is their shape. They must be baked in madeleine pans, sheets with shell-shaped indentations. Follow the recipe exactly; making Madeleines can be troublesome -- either they take too much beating, stick easily to the pans, or come out with crusty, slightly browned edges that chip in the transfer process from pan to rack to plate. I show you how to make them properly, avoiding all of the possible pitfalls.
I use Beurre Noisette or Brown Butter in my recipe for more flavor. Let it cool until tepid before using.
CAKE RECIPE HELP
My first comment about any Madeleine recipe, is the importance of properly buttering the pans. Use a pliant pastry brush, and take care not to miss a single cranny. If you really want to make this process easy, break down and get those Teflon-coated Madeleine pans!
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, sifted
STEP I: MAKE THE MADELEINE BATTER
1. In a small heavy saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat just until very light golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue to stir until the separated milk solids brown. This is called Beurre Noisette or Brown Butter. Let cool until tepid before using.
2. In a small bowl, using a wire whisk, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt until well blended.
3. In bowl of electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted. Lower the speed to medium and beat in the vanilla.
4. Using a large rubber spatula, sift and then, fold the flour mixture into the beaten eggs in three additions.
5 Stir the brown butter so the browned milk solids are incorporated throughout the melted butter. Whisk a small amount of the egg mixture into the melted butter to lighten it. Fold in the cooled melted butter in three additions. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, until slightly firm.
STEP II: PREHEAT THE OVEN, PREPARE THE MADELEINE BAKING PANS, AND BAKE
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
2. Prepare two, 12-mold Madeleine pans with 3-inch long depressions (available at Williams-Sonoma or other kitchen specialty stores).
Using a pastry brush, paint the Madeline cups with a light coating of the melted butter and then dust with flour, wiping any pools that form in the bottom of the molds; set aside (refrigerate in warm weather).
SARAH SAYS: You could spray the pans with Bakers Joy instead.
3. Drop a generous tablespoonful of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center.
SARAH SAYS You can pipe the batter into the prepared pans. Do not use a pastry tip.
During baking, the batter will spread out to fill the cups, and will gradually swell up into a hump in the middle, resulting in the typical "humped" appearance of the Madeleine
4. Bake the Madeleine for 12 to 15 minutes. NOTE: If you make miniature madeleines, reduce the baking time to about 7 - 9 minutes
They are done when lightly browned around the edges, and when they begin to shrink very slightly from the molds.
The centers spring back when lightly touched. Do not overbake these cookies or they will be dry.
5. Remove the pans from the oven and rap each pan sharply against a countertop to release the Madeleine.
Transfer the Madeleines, smooth sides up, to wire racks to cool.
6. When serving dust with powdered sugar. They are best eaten the day they are baked.
The Madeleines can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.
Bittersweet Chocolate Madeleines
Melt 4 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (in pieces) in top of double boiler (stainless steel bowl over a saucepan) until melted. Let cool slightly. Follow the above recipe but add the melted chocolate to the batter after adding the melted butter. Proceed with recipe.
Lemon-Poppy Seed Madeleines
Substitute 3/4 cup (l50 grams) white sugar for 2/3 cup white sugar, substitute l/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract plus l teaspoon finely minced lemon zest for l teaspoon vanilla extract, and add l tablespoon poppy seeds after adding butter. Proceed with recipe.