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Is there anything more gorgeous than a perfectly baked, lemon zest-infused madeleine cookie, still warm from the oven?

More to the point, can people actually get away with saying poncy things like that without sounding like consummate first worlders?

I’m pulling a Rhett Butler (“Frankly, my dear …”) because the cookies are really that good: dreamy cloud-like texture, freshly lemoned, and absolutely darling to look at. And can we talk about how two dozen cookies requires a mere half cup of melted butter? In my book that makes them practically healthy!

I’ve baked four batches in two weeks, all which have been gobbled down in the same day they were made. They’ve been declared my husband’s favorite, and I’ve got my eye on the oven this weekend for some more … No wonder they inspired Proust’s journey down memory lane.

Notes to Self:

  • Follow the Joy of Baking’s recipe to the dot–the lady knows what she’s talking about. This site redefines baking awesome.
  • Yes, you should grease and flour the pan, even if it’s non stick.
  • Bake for exactly 10 minutes in my oven if molds are not overfilled (no more than a gently heaping tablespoon).
  • Once tipped out pan, cool with the browned side down (the yellow side will stick to the cooling rack, which doesn’t look as pretty).
  • You can make these the night before, refrigerate the batter, and bake just as people are finishing dinner for a really impressive dinner dessert served with vanilla ice cream.

Oooh La La Madeleines

Gratefully borrowed from The Joy of Baking

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

2 tablespoons (30 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

In a small saucepan, slowly melt the butter and keep it warm.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugars at high speed until the mixture is thick and pale in color (about 5-8 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest (if using).Then sift about one-third of the flour mixture over the whipped eggs and gently fold in, using a rubber spatula or whisk. Sift and fold in half of the remaining flour, and then sift and fold in the rest. (Do not over mix or the batter will deflate). 

Then take about 1 cup (240 ml) of the batter and fold it into the warm melted butter. (This lightens the butter making it easier to fold into the batter.) Then, with a spatula, gently fold the butter mixture completely into the egg batter. Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least an hour or two, preferably overnight (can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days).  

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).Using a pastry brush, generously grease the molds of two – 12 – 3 1/2 inch (8.5 cm) Madeleine pans (preferably non stick) with very soft or melted butter. Then dust the molds with flour, tapping out the excess flour. Refrigerate the pans until the butter hardens (about 10 minutes). (Make sure the pans are well greased or the Madeleines will stick and be hard to remove.)

Drop a generous tablespoonful (can use an ice cream scoop) of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center. (This will result in the classic “humped or domed” appearance of the Madeleines.)

Bake the Madeleines for about 8 to 11minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched. (Do not overbake these cookies or they will be dry.)

Remove the pans from the oven and immediately tap each pan against the counter to release the Madeleines. Place Madeleines on a wire rack to cool. Best served immediately but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days or frozen for up to 1 month.Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Makes about 24 – 3 1/2 inch (8,.5 cm) Madeleines.

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One thought on “A remembrance of things past

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