Madeleines Part Deux

Remember that nearly-useless madeleine pan I have?  Well it may be about to get a lot less useless because I have finally discovered a madeleine recipe worth staying up until midnight to make.  It involves browned butter, vanilla, and the zest of an entire lemon.  And when I say these madeleines are like moist little heavenly scented cake, I’m not just trying to make you jealous that you didn’t find this recipe first.  I swear.  If you come to visit Peter and I, we can whip up a batch.  I’ll try not to burn the butter, and you can try not to eat all the madeleine batter when my back is turned.  The only thing I find frustrating about madeleines is how darn good they taste straight out of the oven, requiring all my self-control not to eat the whole batch myself (by midnight Peter was passed out upstairs, so I didn’t even have cookie-glomming backup).

The recipe for these madeleines can be found in many places, but I stumbled upon it on 101 Cookbooks.  I’ve transcribed it here for my own records along with rewritten instructions detailing my failings with butter browning.  Enjoy!

Browned Butter Madeleines
(Makes 2-3 dozen cookies)
3/4 cups butter (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup white sugar
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter and flour for dusting the madeleine pan
Powdered sugar for sprinkling on the baked cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small pot melt the 3/4 cups butter over medium heat and cook for ~15 minutes until browned.*  Pour the browned butter through a fine mesh strainer lined with a paper towel to catch all the browned butter solids.  Set the butter aside to cool as you put the rest of the ingredients together.
  3. Butter and flour the madeleine pan.  Try to get all the tiny cracks if possible.
  4. Break the eggs into a bowl with the pinch of salt and beat with electric beaters using a whisk attachment for about 2 minutes until doubled or tripled in volume.
  5. Slowly add the sugar to the egg mixture, whipping constantly.
  6. Keep whipping the egg mixture another two minutes or so until thickened.
  7. Set aside the electric beaters, grab a bowl scraper, and fold in the vanilla and lemon zest into the egg mixture.
  8. Now add the flour to the egg mixture, a little at a time, and fold in.
  9. Finally, add the cooled browned butter to the egg mixture and fold in until just incorporated.
  10. Fill each shell indentation in the madeleine pan about 3/4 of the way full.
  11. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  12. When the cookies come out of the oven, remove them from the madeleine pan immediately (and very carefully) and cool on a cookie sheet.
  13. Cover the cooled cookies with a light dusting of powdered sugar.  Or dip them in chocolate.  Or both.

*For those of you who haven’t browned butter before, I was extremely lucky with mine because it got all foamy so that I couldn’t see what was going on and I took it off the heat just in time.  The butter will smell nutty and incredibly delicious when it’s done, so pay attention to your nose and the pot.


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