French Cookies: Madeleines

19 Dec
… Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? … And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.
—Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
***
Madeleines [mad-uh-len] are a fusion of cookie and cake that are often evocative of memories past (as in Proust’s “episode of the madeleine”) and fancy high teas.  Legend even has it that these little biscuits were created by Louis XV for one of his many mistresses.
Regardless of their supposed origins and sumptuous connotations, madeleines are actually really easy to make– for instance, I made them this morning in my pjs, still half asleep, and with nary a burnt cookie in sight!
La Recette:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and dust the madeleine (or mini muffin) pan with flour.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c flour
  • 10 tbs butter, melted and cooled

Beat the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add vanilla through salt while still beating the batter.  Gradually add flour.  Then gradually add butter, beating just until mixed.  Put about 1 tbs batter in each madeleine shell, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.  Let rest for 3-5 minutes, then place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.  Regrease/flour pan, and bake the rest of the cookies.  When all are cooled, place on a decorative plate and sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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