Thursday, 3 October 2013

Madeleines (chocolate and walnuts)

When life gives you lemons
An overly used saying (well, at least in my life anyway) but often accompanied with the ending "make lemonade". Normally I'd agree with that - lemonade is an absolutely amazing drink! But, with the incoming cold weather, lemonade for me was definitely off the menu - lemonade and summer is the most inseparable combination, definitely not so much for autumn (feels like winter to me already though!).

Hide and seek - can you spot the madeleine tin? :)
Thinking hard of what to do, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eyes. I have a variety of baking tins in my house from a normal muffin tin to a butterfly shaped one - they're an absolute essential for any (amateur) baker. But on this occasion, it was the classic and oh-so-Fran├žais madeleine tin that appealed to me most. When life gives you lemons, I say, make madeleines :-)

Lemons - to use or not to use :)

Attention s'il vous plaît

I think that there's a tendency for people to think that French food is difficult and strenuous to make. Rest assured that this recipe is a complete foil to this common misunderstanding; you mightn't even need to go shopping for anything as what it calls for are simple ingredients that should be found in any household! It might be more tricky without and egg beater, but it's definitely possible (it's a good workout if you don't have one like I did - actually I did have one but I was too lazy to use it/ forgot that I had one. The recipe I used taken from Judy Farris's (2002) French Butter Cakes (Madeleines) recipe on allrecipes.com with some (yummy) alterations by me. A dozen light and lemony French cakes coming right up!

Geting started...

Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 White sugar
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour, plus some extra for the madeleine tin itself.
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup butter plus some extra for buttering the madeleine tin
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration
  • 60g dark chocolate, melted*
  • 35g walnuts or almonds, crushed*
  • Icing sugar for decoration (use as much or as little as you want)*
* things I added that weren't used in the original recipe - you don't have to use them but it's highly recommended if you do :-)

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Dessert spoon
  • Egg beater (an electronic one is preferable if you have one)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Sieve
  • Rolling pin or kitchen mallet (to crush the almonds or walnuts -- alternatively you can get packets of pre-crushed walnuts or almonds in most supermarkets)
  • An oven
  • Madeleine tin (I got mine at Lakeland  which had 12 very cute madeleine molds- you can use a mini muffin tin if you want but it seriously isn't the same)
  • Saucepan (to help melt the butter and chocolate - I was worried about burning my chocolate and butter so I put the e.g. chocolate in a goblet and then placed it in a bowl of boiling hot water; If I'm not making sense, which is usually the case, Lesley Waters's tutorial on the BBC Food web is pure genius).

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C, then butter and flour the madeleine molds
  • Melt the butter in the saucepan and let it cool to room temperature before use.
Mixture + tin = delicious baked goods in the making
  • In the mixing bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla and salt at high speed until light 
  • Whilst beating, add the sugar; continue beating until the mixture is thick and pale. Ribbons should form when the beaters are lifted; beating should take 5-10 minutes (if you don't have an electronic egg beater, you can use a normal egg beater instead - just takes a much longer time, and more muscles!)
A dozen golden madeleines ready for the oven treatment
  • Sift the flour into the egg mixture in three portions (hence 1/3 at a time); fold each portion in gently with the wooden spoon.
  • Add the lemon zest and pour in the melted butter. Gently and quickly fold the butter into the batter.
In the oven...
  • Using the dessert spoon, spoon the mixture into the molds. Do not over fill them - put enough so that there's still a 10mm gap between the mixture and the top of the mold.
  • Bake the madeleines in the oven for 14-17 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the saucepan and crush the walnuts or almonds using a rolling pin or mallet.
Freshly baked and ready to be decorated!
  • When the madeleines are done, take them out of the oven and place them onto a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Place in the fridge for a further 10 minutes to cool.
mmmm...melted chocolate :)
  • Take the madeleines out of the fridge and dip each of them into the melted chocolate; roll half or all of the madeleines in the crushed walnuts or almonds.
  • Let the madeleines chill up in the fridge before consuming

Et voila! Your madeleines are complete! I packed mine in a cute, vintage styled tin to bring to my friends - sharing is caring and it makes me happy; plus it's a great way to get people to unintentionally become your personal guinea pigs :)


So simple and scrummy, madeleines are seriously the perfect teatime treats for anyone who wants to live a slightly more classy life.

C'est vraiment la vie en rose une belle vie :)

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