Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Guest Blogger: Madeleines

My first guest blogger for the month is a close friend of mine, M.  I've had baking adventures galore with her and it's with my pleasure that I post her following entry on madeleines!  Please leave her comments :) Also feel free to document and submit any of your baking experiments (with photos!) to me and I'll do my best to keep your formatting as is.

In the spirit of many of Ms. Lollipop's intrepid earlier posts I thought my first guest post should be highly experimental.  It should be a recipe I'd never made before, something that I wasn't sure how it would come out.

Madeleines were the answer.

Believe it or not these were the inspiration:

I first wanted to learn how to make madeleines after tasting the ones that Starbucks sells.  You wouldn't think something that is mass produced, vacuum-sealed and shipped to chain stores across the country would be so good but these are.  They have a light, milky, buttery rich flavor to them and I think the fact that butter and cream are two main ingredients has a lot to do with it.  So I figured if the Starbucks ones are that good, the ones I make at home have to be even better right?

Ingredients: flour, powdered sugar, almond flour/meal, butter eggs, lavender honey

The reason I haven't made this recipe up til now is that it involves a few special ingredients, including some special cookware: a madeleine pan.
I got mine at Williams & Sonoma for $23 which is a bit of an investment for a recipe that you don't know is good or not.  They are available on Amazon and Target for less though.

Special ingredients include lavender honey which I bought at a local farmer's market.

Other special ingredient is almond flour.  $9 at the local food co-op.  Kind of expensive but hopefully I can find other things to make with it.

Buttering the pan.

Separating the eggs.

Pouring batter in the pan.

For those of you don't have madeleine pans I decided to try an experiment with baking some of the batter in a muffin tin. 

I was wondering how they were going to rise and get that nice bump on top if there's no leavening ingredients?  No baking powder or baking soda or anything?

They're rising anyway!  It's a miracle!

Chopstick comes out clean.  They're done!

On the left is the Starbucks madeleine.  On the right is my homemade one.

Mine's definitely more brown... and less bubbly.

Taste test time

It's hard to say which one is better.... each one is just... different.  But both are quite good! I don't really taste the lavender in the homemade one which makes me think you could just as well have used normal old honey. 

Starbucks: crumblier, sweeter, more vanilla-y.

Mine: eggier, crisp around edges, more fluffy.

The muffin tin ones didn't rise as well.  I think next time I'm going to put more batter in those.  It still has that nice crispy brown edge around it...almost like the caramelized sugar topping on creme brulee... YUM!

The recipe is from Bon Appetit Magazine and originates from a hotel in Avignon, France.


9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup almond flour or almond meal*
1 tablespoon lavender honey
Special equipment: Madeleine pan

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter each madeleine mold in pan and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Melt 9 tablespoons unsalted butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter turns golden brown, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Set browned butter aside.
2) Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, sugar, all purpose flour, and almond flour in medium bowl until mixture is blended and smooth. Place honey in small microwave-safe bowl. Heat just to warm, 5 to 10 seconds. Beat honey into batter. Add browned butter; beat to blend. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each prepared madeleine mold.
3) Bake madeleines until tops are just dry and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently tap madeleines out of molds. Place on rack to cool slightly.
4) To prepare additional madeleines, wash pan and cool completely. Butter and flour molds and fill as directed above. Serve madeleines warm.

* Sometimes labeled “ground almonds”; available at specialty foods stores and natural foods stores.

Goes good with milk.