French – SF

Posted on November 16, 2010

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Britt did the impossible.  She made French macarons.

For me, macarons are in the pantheon of baking.  They seem time-consuming, daunting and probably my favorite cookie of all time (yes, FACT).  They are up there with soufflés, floating islands and the ruler of all French desserts that I will probably never attempt – the Mont Blanc from Angelina’s.

So, I offer you a lovely little sister cookie—the Madeleine.  Yes, you need a special shell shaped metal pan, but these moist, buttery tea cookies (with a cakey texture) are perfect for breakfast, a hostess gift, a tea party… um well, you name it, and there’s an occasion to bake up a batch of Madeleines.  Best of all, they usually don’t require you to go out and buy any new ingredients since they use pantry staples.  They are easy and always classy (my modus operandi).  They’re even better when they’re chocolate (and dipped in chocolate).  And, they too are served at Ladurée.

Madeleines, two ways

Equipment: one metal, Madeleine pan

Classic:

1 c. sugar

2 c. flour, sieved

1 c. browned butter, solids discarded

4 large eggs

dash of salt to taste

Vanilla extract to taste

zest from 1 lemon

Chocolate:

1 c. sugar

1 ½ c. flour, sieved

½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 c. browned butter, solids discarded

4 large eggs

dash of salt to taste

Vanilla extract to taste

extra butter and flour for pans

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter and flour your Madeleine pan.  Tap over sink to remove excess flour.

3. Brown your butter in a small sauce-pan on low heat for about 15-20 minutes (make sure not to burn).  Remove from heat and strain through a paper towel in a mesh strainer into a bowl.  Allow to cool.

4. Add sugar, salt, vanilla and lemon zest to the butter.  Cream together.

5. Add in the eggs.

6. Add in the sieved flour, incorporating until smooth but not over mixing.

7. Fill each shell mold until about two-thirds full.

8. Bake for 12-14 minutes or so, until the edges are golden brown (the top will not turn golden brown… so don’t wait for that to happen).

9. Remove from pan and cool cookies on a rack.  Re-grease and flour the pan, and repeat steps 7-9 until the batter is gone.

10. Enjoy with some thick, European hot chocolate!  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  The possibilities are endless.

The result? I’ve been making these for five years now, and these little scallop-edged beauties a sure-fire winner.  My mom gave me this recipe in a cute little scrapbook (see left) since it was favorite of hers.  She had a couple of go-to desserts–pineapple upside-down cake, pizzelles and Madeleines.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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