Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cookie of the Day

"You need to make some cookies. " The Java Junkie knew I had some time off. The perfect opportunity to stretch my culinary muscles. "I have a great recipe, very simple, you'll love it." she said. Sweet, I thought, I love simple. "Hit me with the recipe" I said. "Madelines," she replied. Visually I could picture them in my mind's eye, little scallop shaped cookies but I couldn't remember ever having eaten one. She continued, "but you're going to need a madeline pan." Of course I am. The Java Junkie lives to send me shopping. I started to whine. "Oh stop it" she replied, "I'm sure the World Market will have madeline pans." Obviously she had forgotten June's Tangine Incident. "Right, just like they were supposed to have Tangines." I countered. While the World Market might have had a display photo of tangines sitting in the midst of some very lovely plates there were no actual tangines visible. When I took the cardboard photo to a store assistant and inquired if they had any in the back, he looked a bit confused and said they didn't have any. I tried to point out the silliness of displaying a picture of something but not actually selling it. It seemed a bit beyond his grasp. Still I was willing to give them another chance since they sell very cheap kitchen wares.Sadly, World Market took a second strike. Not a madeline pan to be found. However they had taken the opportunity to stock up on tangines. This left me only one option and it was one I was not relishing. I was going to have to enter the Williams Sonoma Zone.

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.

Madelines

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
powdered sugar

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.

5 comments:

LaDivaCucina said...

Hello! RE: shopping at WS, I feel your pain. I've actually found unusual items like madeleine pans at stores like Ross and Marshalls. Good to check there first, esp. for items that you'll use once in a while and don't want to spend the earth on!

moi said...

You simply must tell Java to give you enough time to But It Now at eBay. Really. Williams and Sonoma: We browse. We dream. We drool. We do not buy.

That being said, I have never made Madelines! But my mother left me a pan that I know I've squirreled away somewhere around here, so off I go with your recipe. Thanks, dahlink(s)!

Big Shamu said...

LaDivaCucina, there is a local place that did have these but I can't always get to it on a Sat. and they are closed on Sundays. I went back there for something else and not only did they have the large and small pans, they had an antique one for $65. Thanks for the tip on Ross and Marshalls. Will have to check those out.

Moi, they are easy peasy to make. So tasty. As for the Ebay Way, I like spending cash when I can. And buying local. Plus there's a certain element of danger in seeing how far a Cooking Pusher Bots will go in an attempt to get me to buy more. You should see them drool when you start picking up the copper pots...

thombeau said...

I want these NOW!!!

Aunty Belle said...

Moan....mah favorites!

I have the Madeleine pans too...but never found
Perfect reciem. Love this post

Whar' is Shamu' junque?