Sunday, October 20, 2013

Oh Là Là! J'adore Madeleines!

It's funny, I love nothing more than making interesting and flavorful desserts, but what I crave most often are much simpler treats.  Nine times out of ten I reach for a madeleine or a shortbread cookie before I reach for a chocolate chip cookie or a slice of cheesecake.  I even prefer Trefoils Girl Scout cookies over the über popular Thin Mints.

The first time I ever tasted a madeleine was at Starbucks...you know...those perfect little packages of three right by the register...I was hooked at first bite.  I still remember thinking to myself OH MY!! THESE ARE FREAKING AMAZING!! They were flawless...buttery, spongey and delicate. The perfect compliment to my high calorie latte.  I was so obsessed that I quickly went online and purchased a perfectly scalloped pan (similar) and began searching...and searching...and searching for the perfect recipe, but I have always been unsuccessful.  My previous attempts were either too cakey or too dense. It was driving me crazy, I just couldn't get the right texture and flavor.
Madeleine Mise en Place and
Blending of Sugar, Eggs, Milk & Vanilla
I am happy to say that my search for the perfect madeleine recipe finally came to an end while browsing through my school's online recipe catalogue.  These perfect little sponge cakes require eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, flour and melted butter.
Addition and Blending of the Sifted Flour and Melted Butter
Take care to aerate the ingredients at each step because the batter needs to stay light and fluffy.  I chose to try the old school method of using a whisk to combine the eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla.  By the end my arms were dying, but I'll take a little workout where I can get it.  Next, I folded in the sifted flour until just combined then added the melted butter and folded some more.  
Piping and Baking
So here's the trick to madeleine batter...chill in the fridge for a bit before you fill the buttered and floured molds or muffin tins.  This trick was a happy accident because the recipe actually did not call for chill time.

While the first batch was baking I placed the remaining batter in the fridge while my husband and I had dinner.  When I pulled the first batch from the oven I was kind of disappointed because they were too dense.  Totally bummed that my search for the perfect recipe hadn't ended here, I pulled the remaining batter from the fridge and proceeded to bake my second batch....SUCCESS!! They were delicate, moist and spongey...just like those first madeleines I tasted so many years ago.  I can't tell you how happy I was.
Spongey, Moist and Dusted with Powdered Sugar
The flavor of madeleines can be elevated by dusting with powdered sugar like I've done above, dipped in chocolate or filled with your favorite curd as seen here by Rachel Khoo in an episode of my favorite cooking show The Little Paris Kitchen, which can also be found in her cookbook by the same name. (Mobile users click here to view the video for her Madeleines à la Crème au Citron)


So tell me, do your sweets need to be over the top or are you a secret plain Jane like me?  I would also love to hear what dessert stopped you in your tracks the first time you tasted it.  Coming up very soon I will be doing a post on my next assignment...puff pastry...eek!! Wish me luck!

Happy Baking,
Dani xoxo