Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Club - Salted Caramel Madeleines

Madelines are perfect with coffee, but I haven't had very many of them before except occasionally at Starbucks. I know, blasphemy. However, when I saw a recipe for salted caramel madeleines on Gourmand Recipes, I knew I had to try it immediately. I've been following Ellie since she had up her Almost Boudain site, and though she is now working on this new project, I'm still a huge fan of her recipes and writing.

Little did I know that madeleines would cause me as much grief as French macarons (that is a story for another time). I baked three batches of them, and were so disappointed in the first two because they would not hump. Get your mind out of the gutter. See the humps I am referring to below. They make the cookies look like little hills before they are popped out of the madeleine pan.

After failing a couple times to produce adequate humps, I figured out through thorough internet research that the folding technique is very important. The recipe on Gourmand Recipes does not detail any folding techniques, but I gathered that it was basically the same as the macarons - gentle folding, careful not to deflate the batter and VERY careful not to overfold. Overfolding is my downfall.

After the third try, just in time for Book Club, the madeleines came out perfect. I jumped and clapped and dragged Boyfriend over to the oven where I made him look-at-slash-admire the humps. Poor guy.

Salted Caramel Madeleines
adapted from Gourmand Recipes
Makes 12 madeleines

1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce - I used one large spoonful of Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel sauce from Sur La Table
1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Lightly the butter and flour a 12-tin madeleine pan. Make sure you get in all the grooves, otherwise the madeleines will tear while being pried out of the pan. Sift the flour and baking powder together and mix well.

In a stand mixer, combine the egg and sugar; beat on high speed for about 3-5 minutes. This ensures a lot of air gets incorporated into the batter, which makes for a lighter madeleine. Add vanilla extract and and mix until blended. Add vanilla extract and and mix again.

Pour mixture into a large bowl. Add 1/3 of the sifted flour mixture and with a large rubber spatula, fold the flour just until it is barely incorporated. Scoop the mixture up from the bottom to the top usng big sweeping motions, lifting the batter to make sure nothing is deflated. Repeat two more times, adding 1/3 of the flour mixture each time. Make sure you are not overfolding. Just incorporate gently with large folding motions just until the flour disappears.

Add the melted butter in around the edges of the bowl. This part is a bit tricky, since the liquid is hard to fold on without overfolding. Use the same sweeping motions to incorporate the butter, and stop as soon as possible to not deflate the batter. Remember to scoop from the bottom to the top. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes.

Place the batter in a pipping bag and pipe the batter into the buttered and floured madeleine pan. You may also just scoop it with a spoon, but the piping method is a lot cleaner and ensures that the batter will be evenly distributed. You don't want to handle the batter too much by having to re-distribute in the end.

Bake in the preheat oven for 7-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, and take them out as soon as the edges turn golden or darker. Overbaking leads to a dry madeleine!

1 comment:

  1. Your book club meal put my book club meal to shame. :(