I know you're probably crazy busy this week but if you have a little bit of extra time and want to make people around you extremely happy, I urge you to try these bittersweet chocolate madeleines. In a word, they're stupendous--cakey, a little dry and deeply, intensely chocolate-y without being overly sweet. If you're a madeline-lover, you will go nuts for these! They are perfect on their own or dunked into a cup of tea. And with the holidays coming up, if you don't have a madeleine pan already, now's the perfect excuse to treat yourself to one or hint very loudly and specifically to a present-buyer!!
Many people, after they get their first paycheck, go and splurge on a little something for themselves, maybe a new dress or pair of sunglasses or a new gadget they've been eyeing--me, I bought a madeleine pan! At the time I was teaching tap dancing in NYC and I remember cashing my paycheck and heading to the Bridge Kitchenware store that was near Grand Central on my way home (but alas, has since closed, although they do have a website). That store was a baker's paradise and there were so many specialty pans and whisks and spatulas I coveted, but somehow I made the agonizing decision to leave with only this madeleine pan. Maybe it was the Made In France sticker that tipped the scale. In any case, it's certainly held up well!
These really aren't all that difficult to make either. There's some melting of butter, some melting of chocolate and some mixing in of flour etc. and then you let the dough sit for about half an hour to thicken a bit before filling the madeleine pan.
They bake up in only about 10 minutes, so you don't even have to wait that long either.
And they're really, really yummy and satisfying. Little individual easy-to-hold cakes with airy pockets and a powerful chocolate flavor.
Dust them with confectioners sugar and they look so festive and right for the holiday season. Plus, if you live here in the Northeast, sugar-dusted snowy looking cookies are about as close to snow as we're going to get, what with all this warm weather we're having!
These are amazing on their own or dunked in a cup of tea--the perfect afternoon treat! For me, madeleines = happiness, especially these chocolate ones. Try them and I think you'll feel the same way. Happy first day of winter!!
Bittersweet Chocolate Madeleines
Makes about 20 large cookies-it will make more if you have a smaller madeleine pan
Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus 30 minutes for the dough to thicken); Bake Time: 8-10 minutes
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 5 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1 1/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it cook for about 4 minutes, until the solids at the bottom of the pan start to turn light brown (this is browned butter). Remove from the heat and let cool a bit.
2. Place the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water and melt, stirring now and then, until chocolate is completely smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
3. Into a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
4. In a different medium bowl, place the eggs and use a rubber spatula to stir them just until they are blended and smooth--you don't want to beat them or add air into them at all. Stir in both sugars well. Now, very gently, fold in the flour mixture, just until blended. Into the cooled butter, stir the vanilla extract and add this to the batter. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in the cooled melted chocolate just until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until the batter has thickened a bit.
5. Preheat the oven to 425ºF and spray the madeline pans (or pan if you only have one) with nonstick cooking spray.
6. Place a spoonful of the batter into each mold, filling it about 2/3 full and trying to mound the batter slightly into the center. Bake one pan at a time for 8-10 minutes, until the madeleines are domed in the center and set. Invert them onto a cooling rack and bake second pan (or wait a few minutes and respray original pan and refill with batter). Allow madeleines to cool completely. Then dust with sifted confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately. These are best eaten on the same day they are baked, but are pretty darn good on day 2 and 3 as well. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle.