Madeleines

If you we're too ask me what my favorite cookie is, then my answer would undoubtably be “Madeleines.” These cookies are almost more like a cake, and are light, fluffy, oh so buttery, with hints of lemon and vanilla. I love them, and when I make them, I can’t resist them, devouring the whole batch within 12 hours.

One of the most bad-ass things I saw in kitchens in New York was at Restaurant Daniel. There, at each table, at the end of the night while you are enjoying your coffee,  you get a small silver basket, lined with a folded linen napkin, filled to the brim with mini Madeleines. Baked fresh per table and dusted in powered sugar. This was one person’s job; to make the batter and bake mini Madeleines for each and every table. Now that’s bad-ass…

So, these aren’t the easiest cookie to make, there are a few steps that are crucial and need some attention, and you do need some specialized equipment. A Madeleine pan is essential, and a stand mixer will make it a whole lot easier, although you can do the mixing by hand. You can skip over the browning of the butter if you want, although the cookies won't be as nutty tasting. The creaming step is key to a light texture, as is making sure to rest the batter for at least an hour.  

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This is Julia Child’s recipe, and as is to be expected, the best one I have found.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons for buttering the molds (total of 5 1/4 ounces)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Grated lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 3 drops of lemon juice (or 2 of lemon and 2 of bergamot)

Directions

  1. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature, this will make working with all that butter a lot easier. 
  2. Combine the sugar and flour in the bowl of your stand mixer and add 3/4 of the egg mixture. Beat well till the mixture becomes really nice and fluffy and creamy, if it’s too dry, add a drop of the egg mixture, one at a time till it becomes creamy. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small pan, melt all the butter, and over medium heat, cook the butter till it just starts to brown and starts to smell really nice and nutty. This is a tricky step and requires vigilance. Do not walk away, as it will burn! Once the butter is browned a little, cool slightly. You can do this my placing the pan in bowl of cold water and stir till cool, but make sure it remains  liquid. 
  4. In a small bowl, take 1.5 TBSP of the butter and mix it with the TBSP of flour, set aside.  
  5. Slowly  beat the remaining egg into the batter, and then slowly pour in the butter. Once fully incorporated, add the salt, vanilla and lemon.  Let rest, covered, in the fridge for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat your oven to 375.
  7. Paint the Madeleine pan with the flour and butter mixture. Add one rounded TBSP of the batter per cup, do not press down, the batter will shape to the mold as it bakes. Set the pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Un mold and cool or immediately sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy. 
  8. Repeat with the remaining batter. Makes about 2 dozen Madeleines.