Madeleine Cookies

I have been wanting to make some madeleine cookies since I had them in Paris last summer.  I recently got the pan for them and started looking for recipes.  I found two different recipes, one in my Dorie Greenspan book and the other in America’s Test Kitchen Baking book.  The recipes were so different I made both to see which one was better.  Both had very good taste, but the ones from Dorie were much prettier.

You can see the difference in the two cookies in the above picture.  Where the one from Dorie is plump and golden brown (left), the one from the America’s Test Kitchen (right) is a little lighter, and it did not puff up as much.  The taste is very different as well.  Both were basic madeleine cookies, but Dorie’s has a lemon flavor, and the other has a rich vanilla/almond flavor.

All in all, I prefer the ones from Dorie Greenspan.  However, they are both good cookies. Plus the America’s Test Kitchen madeleine is much quicker to make, which is nice if you don’t have about 4 hours to wait until the cookies are done.

The America’s Test Kitchen Madeleine Cookie:

1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (if you prefer, skip this and add an additional teaspoon of vanilla; I personally like the almond flavor so I tend to add it)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

Method:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 12-cookie madeleine cooke mold.  Whisk the flour and the salt together in a small bowl.

The madeleine mold

With a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in the sugar and vanilla until very thick.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture, followed by the melted butter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared mold, filling to the rim.  Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (I found that they actually needed to be baked more like 12-13 minutes, but it will vary depending on your oven).

Let the cookies cool in the mold for 10 minutes then move them to a cooling wrack.

cooling in the moldsAbove: Cookies cooling in the molds

Below: Cookies cooling on the wrack

Makes 24 cookies (although it actually make about 20 cookies for me)

Dorie Greenspan’s Traditional Madeleines

2/3 cup all-purpose

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

zest of one lemon

2 large eggs at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Method:

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Working in a mixer bowl, rub the sugar and the zest together until sugar is moist and fragrant.  Add the eggs to the bowl.  Working with the whisk attachement, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla.  With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingrediants, followed by the melted butter.  Cover and refridgerate for at least 3 hours.

After the 3 hours, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 12-cookie madeleine mold (I used Baker’s Joy which works great).  Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top.  Bake for 11-13 minutes.  To remove the cookies knock the mold on the counter and they will slip out.  You can use your fingers for the ones that don’t want to cooperate.

Cool before serving.

Makes 12 cookies

Other comments on the cookies:

Both types of madeleines are best eaten the day they are made.  Because of this fact my friends Katie and Anna both got cookies today (Alec and I weren’t about to eat 36 cookies today).  Many people have not had madeleines before, so I will describe what you are looking for in a end product.  They are almost like tiny shell-shaped cakes.  The best way to describe them is kinda like a lighter pound cake with a crisp outside.  They are a wonderful little snack on their own or with some tea or coffee.

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French Sables and the current situation involving Macarons and Pierre Herme

As many of you know, I have been really into making shortbread since I learned how last month.  Shortbread cookies were always a special treat that I never though to actually make.  Turns out they are quite easy, and homemade ones are much better than store-bought ones.  I have made these French Sables three times now.  I should probably stop making them, but they are so good.  The recipe follows.

On other baking news, a while ago, I decided I wanted to make French Macarons–those lovely little brightly colored sandwich cookies that decorate every bakery in France.  While I was there, I ate an amazing fushia colored chambord flavored one.  Every since, I have wanted to make them.  There are few books written in English that are for French Macarons.  I read reviews on them on Amazon and ended up not buying any.  Today I decided that I was going to buy the one by Pierre Herme, the famed French Pastry chef.  The issue and reason I didn’t look to buy it before: it is written in French.  I took 4 semester of French in college, and I did okay while in France, but is complicated cooking in French really within my ability?  There is only one way to find out.  However, when I went to buy it, the cheapest I could find it on Amazon was $150.  Forget that idea.  I did end up buying the book he wrote with Dorie Greenspan (though I am under the impression she is more a translator??? I could be wrong), which I am now waiting for.  That book is in English, so that is a bonus I suppose, but I am not sure if Macarons are in it.  Reviews state that the recipes in this book are hard, but worth it.  We will soon see how good my baking abilities have gotten.  In the meantime, here is the rather simple recipe for Sables…

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature (save the whites in the freezer, I will have future recipes using only egg whites)

2 cups all purpose flour

decorating sugar (optional)

Method:

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and velvety, not light and fluffy (if it gets light and fluffy, you have beat it too long).  Add in the sugars and salt, beat until well blended. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.

Turn off the mixer and pour in flour all at once.  Drape with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from flying flour.  Pulse the mixer about 5 times for a couple of seconds each time.  Remove the towel and mix until the flour in incorporated.  Be careful not to over mix! The dough should look like this…

Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half.  Use plastic wrap to roll into logs about 9 inches long.

Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours up to 3 days.  Once they are chilled take them out of the plastic wrap.  This is where you can use a pastry brush, coat the dough in egg yolk and sprinkle with decorative sugar.   I have done this with clear sugar each time, but I am not sure if it is all that necessary because you can’t really see the sugar.  However, around the holidays I think it would look very nice with some colored sugar.  Cut the logs into discs about 1/2 inch thick.

Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Bake for 17-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

When done, they should be lightly browned on the sides and bottom of the cookie.

Coming up in future blog posts: Madeline cookies and recipes by Pierre Herme–keep reading!