Friday, September 16, 2011

Le Madeleine

There is nothing as quintessentially French in my eyes as Le Madeleine.  A delicious little tea cake of sorts that can be spiced up or down according to each his own.  From savory or dipped in chocolate to green tea infused, Madeleines are a blank canvas begging for creativity.

With my spatula in hand and new madeleine tin (that I paid way too much money for just to say it came from Paris) I decided to try my hand at this quintessential French treat.  Using all of my creative juices, I finally came up with the perfect Madeleine recipe twist:  vanilla.  (Hold on to your seats, folks).

Almond Glazed French Vanilla Madeleines

Doesn't putting the word French in front of vanilla always make it sound so much more exotic?  What is French vanilla anyway?  Is the vanilla from France better than other vanilla around the world?  Who knows... but since I live here I'll go with it.

1 stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs (at room temperatur, important! (trick - if you forget to put them out hours early {who ever remembers to do that?} put them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes to bring them to room temp).
1 cup flour (sifted... so they say, but I never really do that)
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 vanilla bean (seeds scraped out from the bean) - don't substitute with vanilla extract or you won't get the same results as in the pretty picture below. 
Tiny dash of salt

This recipe makes about 22-23 madeleines. 

First, beat sugar, salt and egg with a whisk until they are yellow and thickened (5 full minutes with a whisk; OR if you have the luxury of a electric mixer, a minute or so).  Stir in the vanilla bean paste and the almond extract. 

Gently fold in the flour and melted butter in 3 additions each, alternating between the two. 

It should look like this after you are done. 

How awesome do those little black vanilla beans look?? Now, refrigerate the batter for 1 hour (or up to 12 hours). 

Preheat the oven the 375 and coat your madeleine tin with Pam or melted butter (I used Pam... smuggled in from the US).  Drop one heaping tablespoon of batter into each mold. 

Try not to lick the bowl.

Bake 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. 

Gently remove from pan with the help of a butter knife and let cool.  (Let the pan cool before starting the second batch).  

In the meantime, begin the almond glaze.

Almond Glaze

1 and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
3 tablespoons of milk (I used 2%)
1-2 tablespoons of Almond extract (depending on how strong you like the taste).

Whisk to combine ingredients and drizzle over the cooled madeleines with a spoon.   

I also left some plain without the glaze and just dusted with powdered sugar. 

Serve on a pretty silver footed tray.

And then try not to eat them all at one sitting.

I think pumpkin spiced is a must try for Fall.  What flavor will you make?

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