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Coconut-Almond Madeleines

Updated on March 19, 2016
Chocolate dipped madeleines
Chocolate dipped madeleines | Source

I am a long-time fan of madeleines. If I remember right, I bought my first madeleine pan in the early 1980s.

Why would anyone have a hankering for a madeleine pan, back in the 1980s? Well, I was a literary type, and I discovered madeleines during my trudge through Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, which I read in its entirety during one of those long periods of unemployment that seem to plague literary types.

Anyway, in one of the seven volumes of that work, Proust recounts his Aunt Leonie’s habit of eating madeleines dipped in tea—in his aunt’s case linden flower tea—and a charming image was implanted in my imagination. If only I could get hold of a madeleine pan! I could be munching pretty little teacakes while slurping a floral tisane!

Madeleines are wonderfully adaptable. Traditionally, they are made with butter and flavored with lemon zest, but they may also be flavored with chocolate or half-dipped in chocolate.

However, many uninvestigated possibilities remain, when it comes to preparing madeleines. While I want to offer the more traditional madeleine recipes, I would also like to share a version that is my own invention.

BASIC MADELEINES

½ cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup butter, melted

2 eggs

¾ teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar, for decoration (or use powdered sugar for this)

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter madeleine molds. Beat together the eggs, vanilla, and salt. Beat in sugar. Beat in flour. Spoon the batter into the molds. Bake 10-11 minutes. (Keep a close eye on them. Baking times may vary, depending on your oven.) Remove when the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.

Allow the madeleines to cool in the pan for about five minutes, gently loosen them with the tip of a knife (or the plastic handle of a rubber scraper, if you are using a Teflon-coated pan), and put them on a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle the warm cakes with either granulated or powdered sugar.

CHOCOLATE MADELEINES

½ cup flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup sugar

¼ cup butter, melted

2 eggs

¾ teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar, for decoration (or use powdered sugar for this)

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter madeleine molds. Sift the flour and the cocoa together. Beat together the eggs, vanilla, and salt. Beat in sugar. Beat in the flour/cocoa mixture. Spoon the batter into the molds. Bake 10-11 minutes. (Keep a close eye on them. Baking times may vary, depending on your oven.) Remove when the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.

Allow the madeleines to cool in the pan for about five minutes, gently loosen them with the tip of a knife (or the plastic handle of a rubber scraper, if you are using a Teflon-coated pan), and put them on a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle the warm cakes with either granulated or powdered sugar.

COCONUT-ALMOND MADELEINES

½ cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon almond extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar, for decoration (or use powdered sugar for this)

Sliced almonds, for decoration

Butter, for buttering the molds (coconut oil doesn’t work well for this)

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter madeleine molds. Beat together the eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Beat in sugar. Beat in flour. Spoon the batter into the molds. Sprinkle the tops with sliced almonds. Bake 10-11 minutes. (Keep a close eye on them. Baking times may vary, depending on your oven.) Remove when the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.

Allow the madeleines to cool in the pan for about five minutes, gently loosen them with the tip of a knife (or the plastic handle of a rubber scraper, if you are using a Teflon-coated pan), and put them on a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle the warm cakes with either granulated or powdered sugar, on the side without the almonds.

TIPS

What follows is my own opinion. You may want to try the methods suggested by others, as well. Figuring out how to make good madeleines seems to be a trial-and-error process. Here’s what I think:

Many recipes suggest beating the eggs until they are light and fluffy, adding sugar gradually, and gently folding in the flour. My experience is that this produces madeleines that are too light and fluffy, which blurs the scallop-shell effect of the molds, and may even result in cakes that are too crumbly and fall apart.

Many recipes suggest buttering and flouring the molds. This also seems to blur the scallop-shell effect, and it results in madeleines whose “shells” look like the bottom of a layer cake. My opinion: Not good.

Frankly, my opinion is that all ingredients can be pretty much dumped into the mixing bowl and beaten together, without any particular care. The result will not be light and fluffy, but the cakes will have clear scallop-shell bottoms and, hence, will look a lot better and won’t fall apart.

If you are planning to make several batches, don’t wash the pan between bakings. Just brush or rub away the crumbs remaining in the pan with a paper towel, butter the molds, refill them, and put the next batch in the oven.

Use great care to fill the molds equally, and not overfill. You don’t have much batter to work with here, and overfilling any individual mold will make the resulting madeleine unattractive.

For inexperienced bakers: The reason you allow baked goods to cool slightly before attempting to release them from the pan is because they will come out easily once they cool a little. The reason you don’t wash the pan between bakings is because any and all baked goods will stick, if there’s the smallest residue of moisture from a freshly washed pan. It seems like no amount of drying with paper towels or anything else will get rid of the moisture.

I like to serve madeleines with a bowl of sliced strawberries mixed with sugar or honey. They make an elegant item to bring to family gatherings, pot lucks, and bake sales, and they also seem to be appreciated at garden club and book club meetings, if you frequent such affairs. They are elegant when served with an herbal tea—especially one made with flowers, such as chamomile mixed with a little lavender or mint—if you know anyone who goes in for that sort of thing.

Be sure to wear your tea dress.

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      Dil Vil 3 years ago from India

      Good recipe, i like it. Sounds delicious! Thank you.

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