A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law sent me this link with a slight nudge that I try them out for her everyone’s enjoyment. It doesn’t take much to convince me to try out a new recipe, so for a small family gathering for Canada Day yesterday, I took the plunge. The only special piece of equipment you need is a madeleine tray, which I found at my local kitchen supply store.
Clearly David Lebovitz knows much more about cooking and baking than I do, and I couldn’t begin to go into the depth of analysis that he did (the wrong baking powder can leave a tinny aftertaste?) on how to make these lovely little cookies. I will say, however, that I can give a slightly simpler and hopefully less intimidating summary on how to make some yummy madeleines. They were much easier than I’d expected after I first skimmed his 11 step process (though steps 7 and 9 are inexplicably missing…). If you want the full science and lots of tips for making these *perfect*, please read David’s original post. If you want a quick rundown, here ya go:
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
(Quick tip for room temp eggs – put them in a bowl of warm tap water for 10 minutes to safely bring them to room temperature!)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional – I used it… and just a standard brand)
- zest of one lemon
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar (or a bit more?)
- 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- Prepare the madeleine tray. Brush with melted butter, then lightly dust with flour. Tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer to chill.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip eggs, sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened. You’ll need a good mixer for this – you want them really frothy!
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Slowly incorporate into the egg mixture, either by using a sifter or a mesh strainer. Gently fold the batter to incorporate, but be gentle – don’t overmix!
- Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then slowly pour the butter into the batter, and again, fold gently to incorporate. You want to keep the light frothy consistency.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Spoon batter into the madeleine tray, but don’t spread. He suggests enough to fill “about 3/4” of the indentation… I found that a bit confusing. I’d say it’s about 1.5 tablespoons? But as he says, eyeball it, but it’s not brain-surgery so don’t worry if you’re not exact.)
- Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. (I actually left mine about 10 minutes before they got nicely browned).
- Stir together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.
- Remove from the oven and carefully flip the madeleine tray onto a cooling rack. They should plop right out, but if not – use a dull knife to gently pry it out.
- Once they’re cool enough to handle (which only takes a few minutes), dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife (Or if you’re like me, just use your fingers.).
- Rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.
Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they’re best eaten the day they’re made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. I don’t recommend freezing them since the glaze will melt.
My only changes for next time:
- I would make a slight bit more glaze. I was running low by the end, and that meant the last few weren’t quite as nicely coated.
- I’d either cut the recipe in half, or buy a second madeleine tray! One tray bakes 12, so that meant I baked 12, cleaned the tray, re-buttered and floured it, chilled it, and then did batch #2. A bit silly on my part.
Otherwise, they were just perfect. I’m quite happy with how these turned out. Really spongy and light. A big hit at the Canada Day gathering, and they went perfect with my coffee this morning.