If there is one thing I miss about France the most, its stopping by the local bakery in the morning. The sites and smells are intoxicating, but I didn't really appreciate them until I moved to the US. You know the saying - you don't know what you have until it's gone...
These madeleines are my attempt at recreating those memories. When made correctly, madeleines are delicate and fluffy with a gentle sweetness that doesn't overpower the other flavors in the cookie. As you can see from the pictures, my madeleines have a bump in the middle. Most of the madeleines I've seen sold in the US are more tapered and flat, and as a result they are dense and unappealing.
I couldn't name my site PhamFatale.com if I didn't conduct some espionage from time to time. I found out the secret for making light, airy madeleines with the characteristic bump through a contact of mine that is friends with one the most famous patissiers (bakers) in Paris. I can't say his name because I'll blow the cover of my contact, but read on to learn his secrets.
Yields: 3 dozens2 cups all purpose flour, + 1 Tbs
2 sticks unsalted butter, + 5 Tbs (total 300 g) + extra for greasing the pan
1 pinch salt
1 cup superfine sugar
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs raw honey
9 g baking powder, (about less than 2 tsp)
1 tsp vanilla
1 drop lemon extract
1 drop orange extract
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, coarsely chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 410°F.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with 1/3 of a cup of the superfine sugar for about 6-7 minutes. You'll get a pale yellow foam and the texture of the egg yolk will be thicker. Add the brown sugar, raw honey, vanilla, lemon and orange extracts.
In a bowl, combine the flour (2 cups + 1 Tbs), salt and baking powder. Sift all the dry ingredients.
Cream the butter (2 sticks + 5 Tbs) with the remaining 2/3 of a cup of superfine sugar (whisk using a standmixer to get as much air as possible in the butter). Add the egg mixture and the dry ingredients. Mix well. Add the chocolate chips.
Trick to get a characteristic bump: Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of madeleine dough into two 12-cup nonstick madeleine pans. Plastic wrap the tray and place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Remove the platic wrap, then bake the madeleines for 5 minutes at 410°F, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 5-6 minutes.
Remove from the oven, Let it cool down for about 10 minutes.
Serve warm with tea. MMmmm...
You don't have to bake the madeleines in a madeleine pan if you don't want to spend the money, but they won't be "authentic". Otherwise a mini-muffin tray will work fine.
Sifting dry ingredients helps getting rid of nasty lumps of flour and aerate the mixture when liquid is added. It's very important for all your baking so you get a moist result.
The key to a good madeleine is a good quality yellow butter.
The secret to a nice bump on the madeleine is to put the tray in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
The addition of chocolate chips is optional but hey who would say no to chocolate?
You can also freeze the tray for at least one hour, then transfer the madeleine dough balls into bags that I vacuum-seal and place back in the freezer. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I keep them exactly the same way I would do with my extra pesto. You can store them up to 3 months in the freezer for last minute surprise guests.
Pick a subtle flavored raw honey. I think baked goods get airier and flufflier with honey.
Published By: on March 28, 2009.