Previous Post | Home | Next Post
December 04, 2008
When you've got to replenish your ginger and cinnamon stocks twice in as many weeks, it can only mean one thing: the holidays are here! I used the spices for Thanksgiving, when I made both the Cranberry Bundt and the Christmas Galette (yes, it was jumping the season a bit, but not by all that much), then I made gingerbread cookies and a couple of gingerbread houses (more about them in a week or two) and yesterday, really on a whim, I pulled out the holiday spices and came up with these madeleines, which are spiced, honeyed, oranged and, I think, really swell. (The Kid declared them "awesome"; his mother beamed.)
I love madeleines. I love their springy texture, their slight
dryness, their beautiful shape, their light butteriness and their
dunkability. And I love their independence: they're not really
cookies, even though they're usually grouped with the cookie clan; and
they're not quite cakes, even though they're made from a batter that's
almost identical to the one for genoise, the classic French sponge
cake. That they take to being varied, only makes them that much more
Just a couple of madeleine-making tips:
- Beat the eggs and sugar together for a minute or two, just until
the ingredients thicken a little and the sugar is dissolved; beat too
long and thicken the ingredients too much (there's no need for the
mixture to hold its shape when you beat it) and your madeleines will be
- Make sure the melted butter is not hot when you fold it into the
batter and fold it in gently, thoroughly and as quickly as you can.
- Even if you're using a nonstick madeleine pan, it doesn't hurt to butter it and dust it lightly with flour.
- If you've got the time, it's best to make the madeleine batter up
to a few hours or even up to 2 days ahead; chilled, rested batter
produces madeleines with bigger bumps on their backs (a good thing).
- Madeleines are fairly dry by nature and design -- making
them better for dunking -- and really at their best shortly after they
come from the oven (something that's not true for most things we bake),
so try to time your baking to your serving time. To make it easier to
have just-baked madeleines, spoon the batter into the
buttered-and-floured molds and slide the pan into the refrigerator to
chill until baking time; bake the madeleines straight from the fridge.
HONEY SPICED MADELEINES
Makes 12 large or more than 36 mini madeleines
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (or a little less, if you prefer)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and pepper and keep at hand.
Working in a mixer bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with
your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Fit the mixer
with the whisk attachment (you can make this batter easily with a
handheld mixer or just a whisk, if you prefer), add the eggs to the
bowl and beat until the mixture is light, fluffy and thickened, about 2
minutes; beat in the honey, then the vanilla. Switch to a rubber
spatula and very gently fold in the dry ingredients followed by the
melted butter. You may use the batter now, but it's better if you can
give it a little rest. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the
surface of the batter and chill for 3 hours or, if you have the time,
overnight. (For real convenience, you can spoon the batter into
buttered-and-floured madeleine molds, cover, chill, then bake the
cookies directly from the fridge. See below for instructions on
prepping the pans.)
Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the
oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds (or 36
mini-molds), dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. If
you have a nonstick madeleine mold, butter and flour it or give it a
light coating of vegetable cooking spray. (If your pan is silicone,
you can leave it as is.) Place the pan on a baking sheet.
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one. Bake the large
madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes and the minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or
until the madeleines are golden and the tops spring back when prodded
gently. Remove the pan from the oven and release the madeleines from
the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently
pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a
butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just-warm or
| December 4, 2008 6:18 PM
MMM, I am getting out my madeleine pan! I love this type of spicy dessert.
| December 4, 2008 9:16 PM
Yay! My mom and I were just talking about making madeleines. And now we have the perfect recipe! Thanks :)
| December 4, 2008 10:34 PM
Oooo, I definitely am getting dusting off the madeleine pan.
| December 4, 2008 11:55 PM
I think I'm making these first thing tomorrow morning, they sound too good to resist!
And in completely random questions- have you ever eaten at the French Laundry?
| December 5, 2008 12:02 AM
Dorie, I love all the "inside" tips you gave us to make the perfect Madeleine. But what I loved best was the comment Josh posted about his Mama's successful baking. It made this Mama smile in appreciation!!
| December 5, 2008 7:06 AM
I had some adorable mini madeleines at a cafe in NY and now I'm inspired to make them! Would you recommend non-stick or regular mini madeleine pans? Thank you!
| December 5, 2008 8:43 AM
I love making madeleines if I'm having a friend over for coffee, and these sound perfect for the holiday season!
| December 5, 2008 9:10 AM
Hi, long time reader, first time commenter -- I have had the spice cake earmarked to be made this weekend - am so excited! Would you be able to recommend a good madeleine pan? I've been looking for awhile, but don't know what I'm supposed to look for. I suppose the silicone ones aren't good at all (just a hunch)...
| December 5, 2008 1:07 PM
I love your lemon madelines...so I am sure I will love these too! Perfect for the holidays!!
| December 5, 2008 5:20 PM
Lu, I hope you like these when you make them -- let me know.
Sues, I love that you bake with your mom. Keep me posted on your results.
Ya-Roo, dusting off your madeleine pan? You're such a good baker, I would have thought it would be out all the time:)
Brilynn, write and let me know how you liked the madeleines. And about French Laundry -- yes, I've eaten there and everything about the evening was stunning!
Cate, I'm so glad you appreciated The Kid's comment -- nothing could have made me happier.
Eileen, I hope the madeleines will make your holiday season even sweeter.
Radish, thanks so much for commenting. About madeleine pans -- I really like my nonstick pan, but, surprise, surprise, silicone pans are also good for madeleines. Silicone makes madeleine-making very easy, but be warned: when you pop the little cakes out of the pan, they're likely to have a shiny, kind of space-age finish.
Maria, these have a texture similar to the lemon madeleines that you like, but the flavor is sooooo different
| December 6, 2008 6:23 AM
I recently tried the lemon madeleines for the first time and fell in love. Can't wait to try these. And I also like your idea of making the batter a day or two ahead of time - that's actually a convenient way of storing the batter until I'm ready to pop them in the oven. Thanks!
| December 6, 2008 9:40 PM
Hi Dorie, I was wondering if you could explain the part about mixing too long and thinkening the mixture and leading to dryness. I'm always wondering how long to mix things when I bake. Thanks!
| December 7, 2008 2:05 AM
Great tips Dorie! I am printing these out. I don't have a madeleine pan myself, but there is one at work I can use. I may make these sometime during the upcoming holidays. I love that you have included some pepper in the mixture. It's the perfect addition!!!
| December 7, 2008 2:54 AM
I love your pictures and your stories. How was I so late in discovering you? :)
Love your pictures of Vietnam so far. Beautiful.
| December 7, 2008 11:36 AM
Thank you for sharing a life changing tip. Now that I know you can prep ahead.....makes it so easy to shock and awe "friends" who like madeleines too. So nice to know for holiday baking surprises.
| December 7, 2008 3:11 PM
what more can i say - fantastic recipie. ruined it at first attempt but the second effort was well worth it
| December 16, 2008 2:39 PM
What a great blog - I have one burning questioning - is it best to use regular bake or convection bake for things like cakes, pies, cookies? I've been using the latter ever since getting a convection oven and love the even browning, but baked goods seem SO light they lack substance.
| January 17, 2009 6:26 PM
Dorie, thanks so much for this recipe! I made these for a potluck gathering with friends and they were a big hit. I'm definitely saving this recipe and passing it along.
| November 30, 2009 3:30 PM
I made this recipe on Thanksgiving and it was great. I tried a different one a few days before and they came out dry. From this one I left out some of the spices since my little ones don't want to eat them if they taste anything that is not familiar. I will be making this tonight again for morning munchies at my youngest one's kindergarten. Great recipe! Thanks!
Leave a comment
View Previous Entries