French Madeleines

Madeleines are one of my favorite cookies.  Soft, spongey, lemony goodness–all combined into a cookie.  I first tried them in high school because my school, the Academy of the Sacred Heart, would serve them after some masses and during special occasions.  Now I make them at home all the time!  Although I normally bake for fun, this time there’s a real purpose behind it, besides me just consuming it all.  I’m going to my friend’s bachelorette party this weekend and promised to bring a delicious treat, so naturally madeleines was the first thing I thought of!  They’re the perfect treat for bridal or baby shower, a bachelorette party or even a casual tea party.  If you want to make these tasty cookies, look no further!

*I made 4 dozen, so the explanation below is for that amount–the recipe that follows will be for one dozen.IMG_0824

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Before I do anything, even preheat the oven, I grind lemon skins of 4 lemons to produce rinds because this step takes the longest to do.  I prefer a hand grater rather than a stand grater due to the pressure I need to put on the lemon against the grater to remove the peels.  This is all up to personal preference.

I still don’t preheat the oven.  Instead, I take a 1 Kerrygold mound of butter (8 oz/1 cup) and melt it in the microwave.  Many melt it on a stovetop instead–I took the easier route of just throwing it in a cup and sticking it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  I also used salted butter because I ran out of unsalted.  Due to this, I skipped adding salt in the next step.

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STILL don’t preheat the oven.  It’ll just be wasting energy!  Next, I took a large mixing bowl, cracked eight eggs, threw in 1 tablespoon of vanilla and mixed it using a hand mixer on its highest speed (mine was 9).  Do this for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and a bit fluffy.

NOW you can preheat the oven!  Preheat it to 375.  Then take your madeleine mold tray, butter it with butter (again, I used salted) and sprinkle it with flour.

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In the egg and vanilla mixture, continue to mix on high and gradually add 1-1/2 cups of sugar (FYI the dash in the cup measurement just means “and”.  I didn’t know this until recently…).  Continue to mix it for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is a lighter yellow and fluffy/spongey.  To know if it’s really ready, stop the hand mixer, lift it out of the bowl and just move it from one end of the bowl to the other.  If the batter that falls off the mixer leaves squiggly lines, also known as “ribbons”, rather than straight lines, it’s ready for the next step.

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You’re now done using the mixer.  Take 2 cups of flour and gradually fold it into the mixture.  Folding is pretty easy–grab a spoon, I used a wooden one, and gently move it in a clockwise direction but only from the 12 to 6, so halfway around the bowl.  The goal is to keep the mixture light and fluffy while adding the flour so it doesn’t deflate and lose its sponge texture.  I opted out of using a sifter, mainly because I don’t own one, but feel free to sift the flour as you add it to the mixture.

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Now you can add the lemon zest and fold it in, just as you did with the flour.  After, take the melted butter (it should now be at room temperature) and add it to the outside of the bowl, moving it in a circular motion as you continue to fold the mixture.  During these two steps, make sure that you quickly fold in the lemon zest and melted butter without deflating it.

Time to add your mixture to the buttered and floured madeleine tray!  Add just enough so that it nearly fills the mold.  I aimed not to go over because the mold will overflow a bit and connect to the cookie next to it–its cookie neighbor, if you will.  Throw these in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and cool on a cooling rack.  You know the cookies are ready when you gently press your finger against the tops and they spring back at you.  Butter up the rack again, add some flour, madeleine batter and keep going until you’re out of batter.  3 rounds and you’ve got yourself 4 dozen madeleine cookies!  Enjoy!

Ingredients (1 dozen)

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (if you use salted butter, skip this ingredient)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 butter (salted or unsalted)
  • Granulated sugar (powdered sugar) for garnish on finished cookies

Directions

  1. Grind lemons using a grinder.
  2. Melt butter and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and salt (if applicable) at high speed until light and frothy.  ~3 minutes.
  4. Beating constantly, slowly add sugar; and continue to beat at high speed until batter is thick, pale and ribbons form when beaters are lifted.  ~15 minutes.
  5. Gradually add flour into batter, gently folding after each addition.
  6. Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around edge of batter. Quickly but gently fold butter into batter. Spoon batter into molds until nearly full.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until madeleines are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.
  8. Cool on cooling rack and add powdered sugar once warm.
  9. Enjoy!
Modified from AllRecipes.com.

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