Friday, February 13, 2015

Daniel Boulud's Madeleines

I must admit, I’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day. When I was single I never remember feeling any different on Valentine’s Day than I did any other day. It didn’t make me happy or sad, it was just like any other day. I never put a lot of pressure on the meaning of that day or myself or relationships.

Recently I worked on a blog post for work here about what my coworkers (who like Valentine’s Day) like about it & what they do for it. Surprisingly their answers had to do more with making their friends & family feel loved rather than really romanticizing it. I like that version of it better. Feeling inspired I made some valentine treats for my coworkers. Last week I went to a fancy pants work brunch at Daniel (of the Daniel Boulud restaurant group) where I ate the prettiest fruit cup I've ever had. Around the same time I found Daniel Boulud’s recipe for madeleines in Bon Appetit magazine & I took it as a sign that this is what I was meant to make for my valentines.

My first memory of eating madeleines was in Paris with my cousins. We went on an adventure & took a train to see Versailles. Since we had gotten lost (I don’t know how we actually survived that trip) we were starving & opted to hit up the vending machine before we took our journey to Versailles. To my delight they had packages of delicate little madeleines - IN THE VENDING MACHINE. This is when you know you’re in Paris by the way, in case the architecture doesn't do it for you - the vending machines won't disappoint.  I quickly put my money in the machine & punched the button for the madeleines. To my great surprise not one but two packages fell. We got two packages instead of one! (I think God was worried we wouldn’t survive that trip either. ) Needless to say, that was the best thing I’ve ever eaten from a vending machine.

But I digress. If you’ve never had a madeleine, you don’t need to go to Paris or find a vending machine, you can make them yourself. They’re more like mini cakes than cookies but go great with tea & coffee. They’re deceivingly light & fluffy while being moist & you would never know how much butter is in them until you make them! They are worth it. You can make them with basic ingredients in your pantry. The only thing that you might need to go get is a madeleine pan which is a mold for forming these perfect little cakes. I ordered this one off amazon for just under ten bucks.

I wrapped mine up in little cello bags with some festive clothes pins I found at the craft store to make them a little extra special for Valentine’s Day. I hope my coworkers like them. Seems I’m warming up to this Valentine’s Day thing after all.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Ingredients (adapted from Daniel Boulud’s recipe for madeleines in Bon Appetit magazine )
Servings: Makes 12 large or 5 dozen mini (I doubled the recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon or orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional - I added this to mine because I wanted a more vanilla flavor)
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted, warm
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray (optional if using a non-stick pan)
  • Powdered sugar
  1. Whisk baking powder, salt, and flour in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk eggs, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, honey, vanilla and lemon zest in a medium bowl until smooth. 
  3. Whisk in dry ingredients until just incorporated, then whisk in melted butter until smooth. Transfer batter to a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag and chill at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°. 
  5. Lightly coat madeleine pans with nonstick vegetable oil spray and dust with flour, tapping out excess. (You can skip the spray & the extra flour if using a non-stick pan.)
  6. Snip end off pastry bag (or 1 corner of resealable bag) and pipe batter into each mold, filling two-thirds full (you may have a little batter left over).
  7. Bake madeleines until edges are golden brown and centers are puffed and lightly spring back when gently pressed, about 5 minutes for mini & 8−10 for regular cakes.
  8. Tap pan against counter to release madeleines.
  9.  Dust with powdered sugar & serve warm.

Notes: Batter can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. I think since my pan is on the darker side the bottoms of my cakes came out a bit dark. I’m going to try a lower oven maybe 375 next time to see if that makes a difference. I’ll post an update if it does!

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