Thursday, December 12, 2013

Madeleines

At the moment, I am sitting in an incredibly charming little coffee shop in New Oxford, Pennsylvania, writing my blog in Microsoft Word.  Though this little shop is adorable - with classic oak and marble counters, a patterned white tin ceiling, and tiffany-style lamps – it does not have internet access. 

When Paul has business in certain areas of the country, I try to tag along so we can visit friends and family we wouldn’t otherwise get to see.  Luckily today we are not that far from home, just a couple of hours.  While he is out on meetings, making friends and charming people with his delightful English accent, I chose to hunker down in this cute shop, with its lovely view of the town center and its slightly dilapidated but historic buildings, Christmas wreaths and garlands draped on the wrought iron fences, and American flags flying proudly on every corner.

The longer I’m here the more I can tell how odd it is that I am here, a stranger, quietly sitting at her computer staring at pictures of food.  Every time the door opens, a little bell rings and the new customer is greeted cheerily by name, either by the employees or the other customers.  The barista behind the counter seems to know what most people want before they order it.  I’ve heard of places like this, but have never gotten to sit and experience one.  I have made the mistake in the past of referring to this area as “the country” to one of its residents, but there is a decidedly slower pace and familiarity that you don’t easily find in the city or its suburbs.  The people are cheery, happy to run into one another, and I can feel their positive energy reaching me even though I sit away from them, quietly at my table, typing away.

This wasn’t the recipe I had in mind for today, but the slower pace of life around me is telling me that madeleines are what I should share with you.  Madeleines are a delightful cookie-cake hybrid, fluffy and sweet with a touch of lemon, but they require patience and a slower pace.  You can’t rush a good madeleine. 

Like so many things lately, I found this in one of the dozens of Cooking Light magazines my friend Eleanor gave me.  I promise not all of my recipes will be from CL, but they’re a great resource, especially at a time of year when people are more conscious of what they’re eating while trying to make their food festive and sweeter than usual.




Madeleines
from Cooking Light Magazine, December 2012
Hands on time: 20 minutes / Total time: 2 hours / Yield: about 36, depending on size.

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  •  2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  •  2 large eggs
  •  2 large egg whites
  •  6 oz. cake flour (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • Baking spray with flour (I like Baker’s Joy)
  • Powdered Sugar for dusting



Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed for 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and pale.  Sift cake flour over egg mixture ½ cup at a time, gently folding in the flour.  Fold in melted butter.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Spoon about 2 teaspoons of batter into each of 12 madeleine molds or into cookie molds coated with baking spray.  I used cookie cutters on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat, but my cookie cutters are very old and did not create anything resembling a seal with the tray, resulting in a lot of leaks and not as many madeleines.  If your cookie cutters are able to sit flat on your baking tray, this should work perfectly.

Bake for 8 minutes or until golden around the edges.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 2 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.  Repeat procedure with remaining batter.  Dust madeleines with powdered sugar before serving.



According to Cooking Light, a 2 cookie serving has the following stats:
Calories: 112 / Fat: 3.9g / Protein: 1.9g / Carb: 17.3 g / Fiber: 0.2g / Chol: 29mg / Iron: 0.8mg / Sodium: 71mg / Calc: 6 mg