Monday, November 21, 2011

Nutmeg-Scented Honey Madeleines

I'm sitting on this cold rainy morning in the kitchen of one of my best friends.  We got here last night after two straight days of driving to spend the Thanksgiving week.  Already this morning, we've been plotting what sorts of goodies we'll make over the next few days (not counting the Thanksgiving cooking extravaganza for more than 20 people).  Already on the list are my maple oat scones, some pumpkin challah bread and the butternut squash gnocchi I made a couple of weeks ago.   I'm wishing I had thought to bring my madeleine pan.  They would be perfect for nibbling with a cup of  tea of coffee and catching up with my girlfriends.
I think these "cookies" would be great to have on hand for those out of town holiday guests who stay for a few days.  They're more of a little sponge cake than a cookie and are great for dunking in morning coffee or tea.  Or a good afternoon snack for those long days of cooking.  Who wouldn't want a low-maintenance snack or breakfast that everyone will love?  And you can tell your guests that they're french and they will be amazed at how much of a gourmet cook you are.  You don't have to tell them how ridiculously easy they are to make, just smile and take the compliment.  The only downer to these cookies is that you do need to have a madeleine pan in order to make them, but you can find a decent one in the $10-$15 range.
I made these cookies for an afternoon snack and served them to a very sweet young lady who happens to be named Madeline.  She was tickled that they shared her name and snatched up several to eat as her mother and I chatted the afternoon away.
Nutmeg-Scented Honey Madeleines
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 12

4 tbs butter, melted and cooled (plus more for brushing on the pan)
2 tbs honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is preferable, use a little less if you're using pre-ground)
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
powdered sugar, for dusting

In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, honey, vanilla, and orange zest.  Set aside.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and nutmeg.  Stir in the sugar and eggs.  Add the butter mixture and stir just to combine.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Much like popovers and crepes, the batter will bake better when chilled.

While the batter is chilling, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare the madeleine pan by buttering the mold.

Spoon the batter into the molds so that each is about 3/4 filled.  Bake for 8 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.  Be careful- the madeleines can go from just right to over-browned and dry very quickly.  Remove the pan from the oven and place on a baking rack to cool for a couple of minutes.  Once the madeleines are cool enough to handle, remove them from the pan and cool completely on the baking rack.  Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.

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