Madeleines are famous French little cakes (some refer them as cookies) with a shell-like shape and characteristic dome on the back. These buttery cakes, when freshly baked, are browned crispy on the outside yet soft and spongy on the inside. This time I’ve included some trehalose that is about half the sweetness of sucrose. This reduces the overall sweetness without compromising the moisture level (if you reduce the amount of sugar drastically your madeleines will end up being pretty dry). Madeleines are dangerously easy to make and all you need is a large mixing bowl, a whisk and/or spatula and, of course, a scallop-shaped madeleine pan. To successfully create madeleines with fine texture and those classic, distinctive bumps on the back, you will need to be patient and rest the batter in the refrigerator overnight and to freeze the prepared pan for at least 20 minutes prior to baking. In my other post, Maple Orange Madeleines, I tested the batter that was rested for 2, 4 and 18 hours. Feel free to take a look at my results if you want to know how the shape of the madeleines was affected.
Madeleines will keep for two to three days in an airtight container at room temperature and the skin will start to soften or even get sticky over time. To regain the crispy texture you will need to reheat them in a toaster oven at 300℉/150℃ for about 5 minutes.
Makes 6 (60-ml capacity) or 18 (20-ml capacity)
100 g cake and pastry flour, plus extra for preparing pan
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
90 g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for preparing pan
2 large eggs
45 g granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
15 g trehalose
1 Tbsp (20 g) honey
Notes: The eggs I use are about 55 g each without shells.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Melt butter in the microwave or over a pot of hot water and keep warm. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, trehalose and honey until blended.
Whisk in flour mixture in two batches until incorporated.
Stir in warm butter in two additions until thoroughly combined. Batter will be smooth and shiny. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
*An overnight resting time helps the ingredients to blend in together and creates madeleines with a finer texture and dryer exterior. It also helps to produce the classic bumps on the back that look like a Chinese gold ingot.
At least 20 minutes before baking, lightly grease and flour the madeleine pan then tap off excess flour. Keep pan in the freezer until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400℉/200℃ with a large baking tray in it 15 minutes before baking. Gently stir the batter with a spatula to loosen. Remove the pan from the freezer and using either a spoon or piping bag, fill each cavity with chilled batter to about three quarters full. Tap the pan against the countertop several times to get rid of large bubbles. Place pan on the baking tray and bake for 5 minutes. Quickly open the oven door to release hot air then close it again. Reduce temperature to 350℉/180℃ and continue baking until the madeleines are golden brown at the edges and spring back when lightly pressed in the centers, about 7 more minutes for small madeleines and 12 more minutes for large ones. Please adjust oven temperature and baking time according to the pan size and desired color.
*In general, more golden brown color means a crispier exterior. If you prefer madeleines that are only lightly golden, reduce oven temperature by 25ºF/15ºC and bake 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Let madeleines cool in the pan for 2 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm after the exterior has set firm.
A thermal shock, i.e. a cold pan and cold batter plus a hot oven, is crucial to the formation of the distinctive hump.
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