I dread going into Williams Sonoma. So much stuff, such big price tags. Not only that but now the Cooking Pusher Bots attack more fiercely than ever. They are determined not to let you leave their store with just one item if they can help it. Sales are pointed out, samples are paraded before your eyes and the copper pots blind you with their sparkle and gleam. I was strong. I resisted. I was in and out for less than twenty dollars.
Pan and recipe in hand, it was time to cook. Java was right, a very easy recipe to follow.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch of fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan
Special equipment: A madeleine baking pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it's brown and gives off a nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) - you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling.
While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to grease the madeleine molds - get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour. You can also use "cooking spray" with flour to simplify this part.
Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until thick - you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume - approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed).
Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together.
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 –3/4 full. I use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable, it is easier than using a spoon.
Bake the madeleines for 12 - 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.
Makes 2 -3 dozen regular madeleines.
The hardest thing about making these cookies? Saving enough for others. I can't resist these warm little lemon zesty butter bites. Since I chose the smaller size madeline pan, it's almost deceptive how many you can eat. If you enjoy a citrus bite to your sweets then this recipe is for you.