Thursday, October 1, 2009

Classic Madeleines- Oo La La!

In my mind, the French can do no wrong. French fashion, French food, French culture- I love it all. On a recent trip to Once Upon a Tart, the wonderful little bakery in SoHo, I was reminded of how much I also love French desserts. Upon entering the bakery, my eye was immediately drawn to the tray of Madeleines behind the counter. I ordered one of the delicious little cake-cookies along with my morning coffee, and was blown away by the mini treat! Light, lemony and fresh, this little Madeleine had it all.

Based on the simplicity of the cookie, Madeleines seemed the ideal dessert to bake for my first post. While the cookie was easy to make, I must let you know that there is a little extra work involved in making these treats. First of all, you must own, buy or borrow a Madeleine baking tray, as the cookie would be nothing without its iconic shape. And second of all, you need to be patient enough to wait at least 24 hours to eat one, as the dough needs to set in the fridge overnight. Although this may seem like a lot to ask for a batch of cookies, it is well worth the wait. Bon apetit!

Classic Madeleines
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
grated zest of one lemon
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 stick (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
powdered sugar (for dusting)

1. Begin by whisking together the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
2. In a separate mixer bowl, rub sugar and lemon zest together with fingers.
3. Add eggs with whisk attachment, beating at medium/high speed until the mixture is pale, thick and light. This should take 2-3 minutes.
4. Beat vanilla extract into the sugar/egg/lemon mixture.
5. Gently fold in dry ingredients and melted butter with spatula. Continue to mix until the dough is moist and thick (see picture below). Refrigerate dough for up to two days.

6. After your dough has been in the fridge for a day or two, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
7. If you do not have a non-stick Madeleine tray, be sure to thoroughly grease the molds. Butter is the best way to do this. *As you can see from my first photo, I did not butter my molds well enough, as the shape of the cookies is imperfect.
8. Fill each Madeleine mold about 2/3 of the way with dough. Do not worry about making sure they are all filled evenly; the baking process takes care of this naturally.
9. Set the Madeleine tray on a baking sheet and place into the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes for mini Madeleines and 11-13 minutes for large Madeleines.
10. Remove from oven, let cookies set until cooled, and gently tap the tray onto the counter until the cookies slide out of the molds.
11. Lightly dust with powdered sugar, and voila! Your Madeleines are ready to serve.

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