butter · cookies · delicious · easy · egg whites · egg yolks · French · http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post · madeleine · notes · recipe · sea shells · sugar and spice · tea party · tips

Madeleines

Madeleines are little French cookies, made with lots of butter, egg whites, sugar and flour… And baking powder, of course.  They are made with a sort of cake batter, which is piped into special molds for the Madeleine shape, and then baked.  I only recently had the pleasure of tasting these cookies for the first time, and this was my first time ever making them.  They are super tasty, and very simple– I would describe them as tasting like, “Little shortbread cake cookies.”  Hehe… That might be a complex way of describing them, but they are buttery like shortbread, soft like cake, and shaped like cookies.  
I was surprised, actually, with how easy these were to make.  Here’s how it was done!  And here’s also what I have learned through this process…
This recipe called for only egg whites, which surprised me– I guess I always think of rich, buttery things as needing the extra fat content from the egg yolks.  But nope– this recipe called for only whites.  So, I separated the eggs. 

Now, here’s a little trick for you guys, if anyone is like me and they don’t always successfully separate the eggs perfectly… hehehe.  For this kind of thing, I imagine that a bit of  broken yolk in there wouldn’t really make a difference, but I know that for beating egg whites, even a little bit of yolk in there will keep them from beating well.  So, while I can’t help too much with a burst yolk, I can tell you how to remove a whole yolk from the whites, without breaking it, so that you can still use the whites for whatever you need.  I somehow (don’t ask how, I’m not sure) managed to crack the yolk right into my bowl of beautifully separate egg whites when I was doing this.  So, I took it out.  And it didn’t break!  How?

Well, first off, your hands should be clean before you do this.  But I’m sure you washed your hands before you started baking in the first place, so this shouldn’t be a problem.  😉  Basically the trick is to stick your hand into the bowl and make a sort of “Claw” with your fingers around the yolk.  (Sounds lovely, I know.)  Don’t touch the yolk, just stick your fingers around it.  There is always a thicker part of white (I’m sure there’s a technical name for it, but I don’t know what it is) around the yolk that kind or protects it; you want to pick that up.  Close your fingers together underneath the egg yolk, and lift it out.  The thick part of the white will come up for a moment, then fall off of the yolk back into the bowl of whites.  Then just place the yolk into a separate bowl or container and set it aside.

Once that was done, I needed to butter the pans.  Now, here’s what I learned about this:  I have often read that in baking, you should always use unsalted butter instead of salted butter… But since my family has always gotten salted butter as an all-purpose butter for everything we needed, that’s what I’ve always used.  To be honest, until this time, I haven’t noticed a difference.  Salted butter has always been just fine.

The reason I have heard unsalted butter is the only way to go is that you have full control over the salt content in your baking that way.  For the Madeleines, the pans are supposed to be well buttered for the crisp, buttery shell they leave on the outside of the baked cookie.  For metal pans (rather than silicone), they need to be well buttered (sometimes twice buttered) as well as dusted with flour to get the butter taste as well as to prevent sticking.  I used salted butter for this.  Annnd… Well, they were delicious:  but I was surprised at distinct salted taste of the finished cookies.  It wasn’t “salty” or bad in any way– In fact, the salt made them pretty tasty.  But I’ve never experienced the taste of salted butter being that pronounced in baking before!  Wow!

Sooo… All of that said, I now want to make these cookies again, only next time with unsalted butter to see which I prefer, and to taste the difference.  Now, I suspect, I will be more cautious and specific about which type of butter I use in  baking. 

Speaking of butter, that was the next step in making the cookies.  I melted the butter, and set it aside.  Lots of butter for these!  Mm.  🙂

Flour, sugar, baking powder, and egg whites– Then melted butter, to finish it off.  Then the batter was piped into the pans, as you see here…

And now to bake them!  This was another thing to learn:  My recipe said that they should be baked 20 minutes… I checked the cookies after 10, and they were a little too dark.  If you’re ever making Madeleines, remember that:  Metal pans take less time.  My second batch were baked for 8 minutes, and that was perfect.

Once the cookies come out, they are dusted with icing sugar, and then turned out onto wire racks to cool.  I love the taste of the sugar on the underside of the cookies… Mm.  🙂

And there they are!  Lovely.  I had one sponsor for this project; thank you Regan for your support!  I was so excited to wrap them all up for you and send them out.  🙂 

Ready to go!


Annd… Of course, since I wanted to try them, I made a bunch of extras for us.  And we had a tea party.  I highly recommend tea parties for Madeleines. 

Thanks so much for reading, and I’ll be updating the upcoming projects section soon!  Next week is another cake decorating tutorial… So stay tuned for that one!

Bye for now,

–Naomi

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