Tuesday, January 19, 2010

how the madeleine crumbles

Anyone else feeling the sad (seasonal affective disorder) coming on recently? I am hardly one to talk, given that I have friends living in Minnesota and Illinois, but this California girl is tired of the rain. Tired tired tired. Today marks day #3 of the week of unending rain, and I know I'm supposed to be supportive and everything because previous to this week we have been very behind on our rainfall total, farmers need rain for growing things, etc. Maybe I'm just a little on edge because I gave away my polka dot rainboots (and therefore my puddle jumping opportunities) last month, my thought process being a) I'm too old for polka dot rainboots and b) I don't need these anymore. Clearly both are very untrue. I'm going to have to get over this at some point.

So I turned to baking. It is now becoming as familiar to myself as breathing; the quiet, rhythmic movements required are perfect for calming down my overactive brain and antsy hands. I just received this as a late Christmas from the ever-amazing JH (of White Lily flour gifting fame), and it is massive. Full of techniques, cakes, etc, but mostly just massive. A certain family member was flipping through it last night and exclaimed, "Look! Two madeleine recipes!" Said family member used to complain about the way I made madeleines in the past, citing their overly cakey texture. Said family member would say, "Why can't you just make them they way they come at Starbucks?" Said family member is a little insane. To appease, I tried to make today's version dense and chewy, so I wouldn't end up being the only person eating them (though I'll never understand what Proust was referencing in his novel; read this for an overly involved investigation into the Proustian "madeleine", which falls neither in the "cakey" category nor the "dense and chewy" category but most likely the "dry and crumbly" category, which honestly just sounds nasty).

Back to today's madeleine. Thanks to another certain family member, my camera currently lacks a battery and battery charger (both are floating around somewhere in New York, thank you family member) and so no pictures. But can I just tell you something? Brushing softened butter into each mold creates an amazing madeleine crust. And working the flour in far more than my basic instincts would like creates the gluten necessary for chewy. Oh yeah. Kicking madeleine ass and taking names is certainly enough to dispel the gloom for me today.

(Non cakey) Madeleines
adapted from Baking by James Peterson

3/4 c sugar
3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 egg whites
1/2 c butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400. Brush each madeleine mold with softened butter (1 tbp should be more than enough for this). Flour molds, unless you have a silicone mold (in that case, it's not necessary).

Sift together the sugar, flour, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Stir in the egg whites until smooth. Stir in the melted butter until smooth. Give it a couple more beats for chewiness. Using a spoon, fill molds 2/3-3/4 full.

Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until the edges of the madeleines are slightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and try not to eat 5 in the span of an hour (...I didn't do this).

Makes 18 madeleines.

7 comments:

  1. AHHhhh- boo to you family member who ruined my opportunity to SEE these delicious madelines, bask in the buttery awesomeness of their golden crust and use that image to make my gloomy rain clouds waft away!

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  2. oohhhh those sound delicious.

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  3. i can't believe you got rid of your polka dot rainboots! maybe i should get rid of my pink rainboots...

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  4. I wish you would bake me things.

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  5. That simple? i'm bound to find a way to mess it up. Just to get a head start, did Mr. Peterson specify in the book how to properly measure a cup of flour, or how much it should weigh?
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe!
    Sounds great!

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  6. Great question! So a cup of flour should weigh about 120 g (meaning the 3/4 cup called for in the recipe should weigh 90 g)...if you have a scale, that is the best way to do it! (I recently bought a digital scale and it is kind of the love of my life at present...)

    If you don't, that's fine too. Just grab your 1/4 cup for measuring. Aerate the flour (fluff it up a little) with the cup, then lightly spoon the flour into the cup until it is overflowing. Use a knife/your finger to sweep the excess off the top. Repeat as needed. A bit of a pain, but that's how it's done.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Hi Stephanie,
    Thank you for taking the time to look it up!
    I will use the scale (i'd call it "attachment" in my case), to be sure, so that's great.
    Thank you so much for your kind help!

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