I am still working may way through my cookbooks and have been also trying to improve my baking skills. I am one of those people who loves to cook, but I am not a great baker. I think it is because baking requires such precision and exact measurement. So if you can get beyond wanting to add a little of this or that, or taking out ingredients that you don’t think work, you will have good results and maybe even impress a few friends. In order to improve, I will need to keep at it. So, I am going to post a baking recipe every other Sunday to share this journey with all of you.
I started off this journey by deciding to make Madeleines last week. I found a recipe from a very old cookbook for a traditional madeleines. I pulled out an old metal madeleine pan that I found at a garage sale, I had the ingredients and I thought it would be easy. Well, the batter was lumpy and the end result was not very tasty. So I decided to try again. After all, I will never learn to bake well if I don’t keep trying.
I went out and splurged on a nonstick madeleine pan. Then I found this Honey-Spiced Madeleine recipe in my new cookbook Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. The instructions are much more precise than the first ones and when I followed them carefully, the result was very nice. These madeleines are fine served traditionally with tea, but are even better served slightly warm, with coffee, with a latte or even with ice cream. I just love the shape and the spicy, rich, moist texture.
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. sugar
Zest of ½ orange, finely grated
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and pepper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Fit the stand mixer with a whisk attachment or use a hand mixer or a whisk. Add the eggs to the bowl and beat until the mixture is light coloured, fluffy and thickened, about 2 minutes. Beat in the honey, then the vanilla. Switch to a rubber spatula and very gently fold the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter.
Chill the batter for at least 3 hours.
When you are ready to bake, centre a rack in the oven and preheat to oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 regular madeleine molds (or 36 mini molds), dust them with flour, and tap out the excess. (If you have a nonstick madeleine pan, butter and flour or give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If your pan is silicone, you can leave it as is or, give it a light butter and flour coating). Place the pan on a baking sheet and spoon the batter into the molds filling each one to the top.
Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when pressed gently. Remove the pan from the oven and release the madeleines from the mold by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any reluctant madeleines from the pan using fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm room temperature.
Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan