If you were here last year, you would remember that this is our favorite time of the year, because, you know, IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! Yes, I’m that annoying person who prances around with excessive holiday cheer.
To countdown for 2014’s Christmas, I started a “12 Days of Baking” series that featured some of my favorite festive desserts, from the red velvet cookies (which soon enough became a favorite for everyone around) to the hazelnut meringue kisses which got me featured on Foodgawker, to cute homemade gift ideas like the DIY hot cocoa mix, and much more (you can check out the roundup here.)
This year I’m kicking it off with a classical favorite.
So for “The 12 DoB ’15” Day 1: The French Madeleine.
These little desserts are anything but small when it comes to flavor. I always loved their scalloped shape, their fluffy and light texture, and above all, the minimal preparation and work needed to get them.
Here’s a quick Julia Child story about Madeleienes. Before Madeleines were readily available, wrapped in plastic and holding their breath at any given Starbucks, she was trying to find the her own way back to the perfect Proustian Madeleine, part cake, part cookie and made to crumble in tea. After featuring Madeleines à la génoise on her show, she responded to a viewers desire to see the heavier Madeleines, with the hump in the middle, made famous by the bakers of Commercy. The ultimate trick was to keep them rested for a while in the fridge.
The only hard part about making them is the patience and confidence you must have before attempting to make them. In the end, though, you are rewarded with a truly unique little cake, browned and crispy on the outside and spongy and soft on the inside. A perfect accompaniment to your afternoon cup of tea.
This recipe is worth keeping in your rotation of cookie recipes. It comes together really quickly and the result is so pretty and delicious, it’s sure to impress.
For my recipe, I used half AP flour, and half ground almond meal. This gave the madeleines a moister texture. Feel free to use all AP flour by simply using 1 cup AP flour.
Makes 18 regular sized madeleine
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, optional
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup ground almond meal (you can use 1/2 cup all purpose flour instead)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
Special equipment: madeleine pans or mini- or regular-muffin pans (baking time may vary if using these pans)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter madeleine pan and sprinkle with flour. Tap the pan on the counter to remove excess flour. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl cream together the eggs and granulated sugar on high speed until the mixture thickens and develops a light pale color, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Beat in the vanilla extract, lemon zest, flour, almond meal, salt and baking powder. Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly pour in the melted butter. Mix until everything is incorporated, but don’t over mix.
- Let the mixture rest in the fridge covered with plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes (the longer you chill it, the bigger the hump you get)
- Divide the batter evenly between the molds in the prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 8-10 minutes.
- Immediately invert the madeleines onto a cooling rack, this will keep them from sticking on the pan.
They are best when eaten warm, or cold, or the next day. Well they are best eaten whenever, and I’m sure you won’t have any left for the next day.
Bon Appetit 🙂