Saturday, January 9, 2010

French Bakery :: Madeleines

Yesterday was a big day... I got my first Kitchenaid Stand Mixer!  It's something I've wanted for a while... imagine all the baking! But where to put it? Remember how small our kitchen is, and how we only have one counter?  Well, after a little re-arranging I convinced myself that it would fit (by re-arranging I mean: our espresso machine is now on the dining table!) oops :-) 

In spite of swooning over all the pastels, I decided to go with the chrome color.  Very industrial looking, it's perfect!  ...So lots of cakes, breads, cookies to come! ...maybe even some fresh pastas :-)

What to bake first?  Madeleines!!!  I love madeleines.  Tiny, airy, buttery cakes beautifully shaped in scalloped shell molds.  They are the perfect size when you are craving a bit of something sweet and the perfect cookie for a warm cup of tea or coffee.  

Madeleines were made famous by the French author Marcel Proust who wrote fondly about them in his book "Remembrance of Things Past".  They are said to originate from the Lorraine region in France, with conflicting stories on how they were named, but one version says that they were created by Louis XV's son-in-law's baker, who named them after her: Madeleine Paulmier. 

You can find the shell shaped molds in most baking supply stores (or online).  I prefer the steel pans over the silicone ones, that's just me... I don't think silicone molds give you the same crispness.

MADELEINES (adapted from The WS Baking Book) makes 24 cookies
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Zest of 1/2 a Lemon
1/2 cup unsalted Butter, melted and cooled.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Brush the madeleine molds generously with melted butter and lightly dust with flour, tapping out any excess.  If you have a non-stick pan, skip the flour.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium, beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy (about 5 minutes).  Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat until combined.

Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until well blended.  Add a bit of the egg mixture to the melted butter.  Then carefully fold the butter into the egg mixture in three parts.

Refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour.

Drop the batter into the center of the madeleine molds using a tablespoon.  The molds should look close to full with a little mound in the center.  Bake until lightly browned, but springy to the touch.  About 11- 12 minutes.  Be careful not to overbake.

Immediately invert the pan into a cooling rack, and make another batch.  They will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  You can also freeze for up to a month.

1 comment:

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

I feel so French nibbling on these!

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