Our very favourite cookie is the modest madeleine. Seemingly small, plain, possibly even ordinary, these cookies are anything but. The boys and I have long loved these tiny treats, and when Rob and I went to Paris three years ago we brought back a Madeleine pan for Jackson as a souvenir. That's right. At six, the boy requested a baking pan from France and his wish was my command.
While these are very easy to make, there are essential requirements that will yield the most perfect madeleine, the first of which is the baking pan. I'm not one for keeping a collection of one-use-only gadgets in my kitchen, but because we love to make these, the pans are worth the real estate in my cupboard. We have Jackson's authentic pan, and mine, which was picked up for $10 at my local home goods store.
On the note of baking pans, please use metal and not silicone. When brushed with butter to prevent sticking, the metal pans provide a golden hue to your crumb that you don't want to miss out on.
The other vital tip in making great madeleines is to start with room temperature eggs. In my opinion this isn't negotiable, so be sure to pull them out of the fridge early in the day so they are ready when you are. Okay, let's get started.....
PS - See the droplets of water in the picture? Only a fool would stand outside and try to capture a photo in the pouring rain before her kids and their friends ate all the cookies.
Honey Cinnamon Madeleines
The recipe this one is adapted from weighs the ingredients instead of measuring them with cups and spoons. When I was taking baking courses in college, I was taught that this method always yielded the best results. These are the most perfect madeleines I have made, proving the point I think. Last week there was an article in the New York Times about baking with measurements if you're interested.
- 4 oz unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 medium eggs, room temperature
- 2 3/4 oz superfine sugar
- 1/4 oz soft dark brown sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 1/4 oz all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the madeleine molds with some of the melted butter.
Put the remainder of the butter in a small saucepan with the honey and melt it, then cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place the eggs in a large bowl with both the sugars, the salt and vanilla. Whisk until pale yellow and doubled in volume.
Sift the flour, cinnamon and baking powder into the eff mixture. Fold them into the wet ingredients gently.
Add the melted butter and honey, and incorporate it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Using two small spoons, scoop about a teaspoon of mixture into the middle of each mold. The mixture will spread during baking, so it's not necessary to fill the molds.
Place in the oven and bake for four minutes for small madeleines or 8 minutes for large ones.
Allow to cool for one minute, remove from the pan and served.
Madeleines are best served the day they are made. If you would like to make the mixture in advance, it can be refrigerated overnight, and then baked the day you are serving them. If you go this route, reduce the butter by 3/4 oz. and then melt that amount the following day to grease your pans with it.