Les Petite Madeleines

Ready for their date with a cup of tea.
Sadie’s class is exploring the world again, and this week, it was her group’s turn to present on France. Her portion of the presentation was on food — can you imagine a better topic for France?

Being in third grade, however, she didn’t focus on coq au vin, baguettes, or crepes. She presented on French cooking techniques for “snails, frog legs, and sheep brains.” Nothing like a little elementary school “Fear Factor.”

Not willing to make les cuisses de grenouilles, I made a batch of madeleines for the class. According to Sadie, “everybody in the class LOVED them. But two kids hated them.” (Heh. But now we know who the next Frank Bruni will be.)

Here’s what I sent in with these delicate French cake-cookies: Madeleines (or petite madeleines, which the class is eating today) are a traditional French cookie from Commercy, a town of the Meuse département in northeastern France. More like a cake than a cookie, madeleines are usually eaten with tea or coffee and are identified by their shell-like shape. Traditional madeleines have a butter and lemon flavor, similar to pound cake. They can be made, however, in different flavors including vanilla, orange and chocolate. (Source: Wikipedia.org)

Imagine: the next time a friend comes over for tasse de thé or café, you could offer them a plate of fresh-baked madeleines. Trés chic!

Madeleines (Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com)

2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Generously butter and flour a Madeleine pan.* Using electric mixer, beat eggs and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl just to blend. Beat in vanilla, lemon peel and salt. Add flour; beat just until blended. Gradually add cooled melted butter in steady stream, beating just until blended.

Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each indentation in pan. Bake until puffed and brown, about 16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently remove from pan. Repeat process, buttering and flouring pan before each batch. (Can be made 1 day ahead.) Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar.

*A metal mold with scallop-shaped indentations, sold at cookware stores. I think you might be able to use a mini muffin pan in a pinch.

Grade: A

Categories: Cookies, desserts, Grade Range: A- to A+


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