Sunday, October 12, 2014

Elegant (and Easier Than They Look) Madeleines {Book Review}


I have had a copy of this cookbook from Quirk Books - Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share by Barbara Feldman Morse* - on my pile of 'to-review' for several weeks. I think I was avoiding it because I have never actually eaten a madeleine (did I just admit that aloud?!), I needed to get a madeleine pan, and madeleines looked so complicated.

Well, I finally got my hands on a madeleine pan and I had run out of other cooking projects. So, it was time.

Morse has divided her recipes into seven chapters with six different categories of madeleines from 'Not Just Plain Vanilla' and 'Indulgent' to 'Savory.' Yes, savory. I'll share one of those recipes another time. But, for this review, I am going to share an indulgent madeleine, her Hazelnut and Frangelico Madeleines.

I was more than a little tickled to discover that these cakes are not just elegant, they are easier than they look.

With Morse's helpful hints and detailed tool lists, you can - as she writes - "master a foolproof method that's incredibly quick and easy." I was dubious. Now, I'm a convert. In one baking session, I followed three of her recipes and created one of my own. They are a cinch to make...and completely foolproof!

My Chocolate & Frangelico Madeleines are slightly adapted because I opted to use organic hazelnut extract instead of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. And I don't own a microwave, so my instructions are slightly different than hers. Otherwise, I stayed true to Morse's recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 C organic butter plus some for greasing pan
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 t organic hazelnut extract
  • 2 t Frangelico (or other hazelnut liqueur or water)
  • 1 C flour (I used a bread flour)
  • 1-1/2 C roasted, unsalted hazelnuts
  • 8 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Procedure
Before you start, chop your hazelnuts. While you might be tempted to use pre-chopped nuts - I have done it many times myself - the aroma of the freshly chopped nuts is extraordinary and well worth the effort. I promise!


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease, or butter, your madeleine pan and set aside.

Place your butter and sugar in a saucepan and heat, over medium heat, until the butter is melted and the sugar is blended into the butter.

Let the butter-sugar mixture cool for a few minutes, then spoon it into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, extract, and liqueur. Beat for a full three minutes to incorporate lots of air bubbles into your batter.

Fold in the flour and 1/2 C hazelnuts with a spatula, taking care not to deflate the batter too much. Using a truffle scoop, or teaspoon, fill the shell molds with batter until almost full.


Bake till the madeleines puff up and the edges are golden. Morse writes 12 minutes. Mine took closer to 17 minutes. So, start checking yours at 12, but just know it might take longer.

Remove the pans from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 3 to 5 minutes. Unmold. You may be able to tap them out; I used a small spatula to ease them out of the molds onto the cooling racks.

While the madeleines cool, temper the 8 ounces of chocolate in a double-boiler.

To finish the madeleines, line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Dip the madeleine halfway into the tempered chocolate and gently scrape the flat side to remove excess chocolate. Lay it on the parchment and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Let set for 30 to 60 minutes


I am impressed with these recipes - the varieties in flavors were fun and inspiring! As I mentioned, I tried a trio of Morse's recipes and then created one of my own that was a hit. We've already bookmarked a few more madeleine recipes to try.

Thanks for the inspiration, Barbara. And thank you, Quirk! We can't wait to try more recipes from this book. If your cookbook shelf is jam-packed as mine is, make room. I'm not joking. This is one you can use for all your holiday cookie trays and beyond. It's a winner.

If you are interested in purchasing Madeleines for yourself, I have included an affiliate link for the book on amazon for your convenience (below). If you are uncomfortable using the affiliate link, feel free to visit amazon on your own and search for "madeleines by barbara feldman morse." I am also including a link for the pan that I have been using. I love it!

     

  *Note: I received a complimentary copy of the cookbook from the publishers for the purpose of reviewing it. However, all opinions are 100% my own and 100% accurate.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! It's always great to see someone tackle something that looks intimidating and break it down into a manner that feels doable in your own kitchen!

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