Saturday, April 9, 2011

We Love Our Madeleines

I didn't start my love affair with madeleines until a few years ago.  Well, it's not a love affair, but I really am quite fond of them.   I don't know how or why I became enamored with them, I just did.   Ten years ago, Costco or Entenmann's didn't make them, at least not to my knowledge.  I think I saw the pans at Williams Sonoma, and fell in love with those delicate shell pans.  When I was a little girl, I loved story time.  One of my favorite books that our school librarian, Mrs. Connelly, would read to my class was Madeline, written by Ludwig Bemelmans.   "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.  In two straight lines they broke their bread and brushed their teeth and went to bed.  They smiled at the good and frowned at the bad and sometimes they were very sad. They left the house at half past nine in two straight lines in rain or shine — the smallest one was Madeline."  Seriously, I think my memory of this book made me delve into the world of madeleines.  Madeleines too, are usually baked twelve to a pan and in two straight lines and they are French....interesting.
I started out with one pan, and quickly realized that two pans are better than one.  Most recipes yield 24 madeleines.  The first recipe I tried was a Barefoot Contessa, coconut madeleine recipe.  It was a big, big hit with the family.  I tried many others - chocolate madeleines, orange madeleines, chocolate dipped madeleines, vanilla infused madeleines, almond madeleines and lemon madeleines.  To this day, the coconut madeleines remain the favorite with the family.  Personally, I adore these lemony lovelies by David Lebovitz.  If you LOVE lemon, by all means, try them.  If you are like the rest of my cocoNUTTY family, I think you will enjoy these.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Ina Garten's recipe.  The technique of chilling the pans and the batter is that of David Lebovitz.  To me it is a marriage made in heaven.

Coconut Madeleines
Click here for printable version

Adapted from Barefoot in Paris, 2005 Ina Garten

Yield 24 Madeleines 
Bake at 375 degrees
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter 
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond (or vanilla) extract
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • Powdered sugar
An additional 2 tablespoons of softened butter or non-stick spray and flour are needed to prepare pans
  • Melt butter and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together, flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  • In a bowl of a stand-up mixer, combine eggs, sugar and flavoring (almond or vanilla). Beat until mixture turns light yellow and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the melted butter to the egg mixture and combine.
  • Remove bowl from mixer and combine the sifted dry ingredients to the the wet ingredients using a wooden spoon or spatula. 
  • Stir the coconut into the batter.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap. 
  • Chill batter in the refrigerator for at least an hour. (I've chilled it for 4 hours and it was fine)
  • Prepare pans by generously buttering or spray with non-stick spray, and then lightly flour the pans - place pans in the freezer to chill while the batter is also chilling.
  • 15 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Remove batter from the fridge, and one pan at a time from the freezer.  Fill each cavity of the madeleine pan with a scoop of the chilled batter.  I use a cookie scoop that looks like a small ice cream scooper.  It scoops one tablespoon of mixture at a time.  If you don't have this kind of a scoop - check out a melon baller or you may have to eye-ball it - but it is safe to say that a madeleine mold (NOT THE MINI ONES) would hold a slightly rounded tablespoon of batter.  You may have to tweak this for your own pan.
  • Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  I have 2 pans, one is darker than the other.  The ones in the darker pan bake in 9-10 minutes .  Keep an eye on the edges of the cookies.  They should be slightly brown.
  • Remove from oven and pan, cool on a rack.
  • Dust cooled madeleines, the scalloped side, with powdered sugar.
    A few more words about madeleines...
    The madeleine "hump" is a good thing.
    If coconut is not your thing, leave it out.  You can substitute a tablespoon of lemon or orange zest.
    Madeleines are like a small cake.  They will dry out if they are baked too long.  
    Madeleines are best eaten the day they are baked.  They will only keep another day or two in a covered container. If they dry out, dunk 'em!
    If you are in a hurry, the batter works without chilling it...I just think it makes for a better end product with a perfect madeleine hump.  


    1. Have you ever tried to freeze these? There are only two of us here and I'm afraid we'd eat all 24 in one sitting. I usually thwart our gluttony by freezing extras, which works well with most, but not all baked goods.

      P.S. I like your blog and have already saved several other recipes to try.

    2. Thank you medianlakegirl! No, I have not tried to freeze them. I always baked them when there were enough mouths around to eat them while they are fresh. I think if you froze some right after they cooled off, they would be fine. They are very cake-like and with the high butter content, they should be fine. If you try it, let me know how it works out.