Monday, May 12, 2014

Chocolate Madeleines

One cold snowy day in March, I was nosing around the kitchen when I found a Madeleine pan I picked up a few months ago.  I decided it was time to see if these delicious French treats were really as easy to make as the recipes claim.  After a little bit of research I went with this recipe and was very pleased with the results. (That link is to a Google Doc, which is easily read and printed so you're welcome.)

Well, file this under "Fancy yet almost Foolproof Desserts", which is rather narrow category as any baker will tell you.  But what exactly are Madeleines? They are small, spongey, shell-shaped tea cakes that come in every flavor and are often best enjoyed at afternoon tea with Marie Antoinette.  But just in case you don't live in pre-Revolutionary War France, they also make for a lovely after-dinner treat when paired with coffee.  You know, when you want something sweet and decadent without the commitment of a four-layer chocolate torte.  

Traditionally, Madeleines are a vanilla flavor with a hint of citrus from orange or lemon extract but if you know me at all you know it's chocolate or get out of my kitchen.  To be fair, traditional Madeleines are incredibly delicious, especially if they are drizzled in a light vanilla glaze. Here is a very detailed and beautifully photographed tutorial from The Kitchn on making classic Madeleines, if chocolate is not your fancy.

There are three things to remember for achieving that slightly crispy outside and soft, spongey inside texture that is unique to Madeleines:

1) Grease the pan very well, whether it be with butter and flour or cooking spray. A Madeleine stuck in the pan doesn't do anyone any good.

2) Do not under or over fill the molds. As you can see with my first batch, the cakes were a little small and so a bit dried out.

 A generous tablespoon of batter does the trick. This was my second batch.

3) Do not overbake.  The chocolate Madeleines are a little harder to judge by sight, as they do not change to the beautiful golden brown of the classic ones.  Everyone's ovens vary, but I found right about nine minutes to be the sweet spot. The cakes were soft, moist, and sprang back when I touched them.

You can get extra fancy and dust them in powdered sugar or melted white chocolate but I found they tasted lovely as is. The only downside is that these little cakes only last for a day or two, but they are so yummy that it's not usually a problem.

Well, what do you think? Do you see yourself making these? Any variations out there that I should try? Most importantly, will you travel to Versailles with me? I have a sudden urge to take tea in the palace garden...

1 comment:

  1. If I leave my house right now and head to Indiana, can you have a few (and by a few I mean a bunch) of these waiting for me? They look devine!


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