as we all know, not all recipes are created equally. having tried/tested quite a few versions over the years, this one (from baker florence edelmann), is really one of the best. madeleines can be of a very light and spongy (génoise) variety or a slightly heavier, almost poundcake type, one. these fit the latter description however there are purists who will say they should be of the former texture. that is up for debate.
as génoise recipes are fussy and can be difficult for the average baker, this is a good alternative. note that a génoise does not use baking powder but only the eggs itself as a leavener. this recipe includes a leavening agent in addition to the eggs. there are, however, many variations of madeleine recipes. you should also plan ahead for this recipe as you need to chill the dough overnight. trust me though, it's all well worth your effort .... after trying these, you won't say no to them — in fact, you won't be able to stop with just a single one.
these small cakes, best eaten the same day they are made, should be sweet, light and buttery (not to mention memorable). these ones are all that and more. the only drawback is that you must use a madeleine pan which come in two sizes: the regular size (large) and the mini (about the size of half your thumb). i recommend buying the standard sized pan. you may want to invest in a non-stick one. i have the regular kind which must be well buttered and floured (an essential step).
whichever type of pan you end up buying, fill them up with this cake batter and watch some really wonderful french pâtisserie come out of your oven :)
it is best to make the mixture the night before and let it chill in the refrigerator until the next day. you can, in a pinch, use it right away. the dough can also be kept until the day after, if not baking all the madeleines that same day.
makes ~ 24 +
3/4 c - 1 tbsp (150g) sugar
1 pkg (2 tsp) vanilla sugar
8 tbsp butter (1/2 c) = 125 g, at room temperature
1 c + 2 tbsp (150 g) AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 - 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 tbsp dark processed cocoa (for 1/2 the dough; double it for all chocolate)
place the eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar in a medium sized bowl.
in another bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder together. set this aside.
divide the butter into 3 equal portions and set aside. make sure it is at room temperature before blending it in (see following).
with an electric beater, beat the eggs and sugars for about 4 to 5 minutes until it is pale yellow and very thick. this is very important (1 to 2 minutes of beating will not suffice); the idea is to have the sugar melt completely & incorporate enough air so as to form a very thick mixture.
once the eggs and sugar have been mixed, add the butter and flour in 3 separate additions, beating well each time.
after the butter and flour has been added, decide how you want to flavour the batter.
you can have it all vanilla (add the lemon zest, if wanted) or make a half batch of chocolate or all chocolate.
if making a chocolate batter, you'll need to sift the cocoa very well first into another bowl. either take half the batter (or all of it - double the amount of cocoa (2 tbsp) here) and blend it with the cocoa.
take note: the chocolate madeleines do not release as well as the plain vanilla so take extra care to flour your pan very well.
at this point, refrigerate the dough overnight or for several hours (overnight is best).
before baking, set your oven to 375 F (170C).
remove the cake batter from the refrigerator; it will have solidified. this is correct. well butter your madeleine pan(s) and flour them.
using a tablespoon, measure out enough batter for each and place it in the center of the madeleines.
you may need about 1 tbsp and 1/4 tbsp more for the chocolate batter. it seems to require a little more than the plain vanilla.
bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
remove and LET COOL COMPLETELY. with a butterknife, carefully pluck each madeleine out. the chocolate ones tend to be fussy so proceed carefully in extracting them.