These madeleines broke me.
I’ve been away on a mental vacation of sorts (which explains the inactivity here but doesn’t excuse it) because everything that I’ve been bookmarking to bake just seemed so meh. I wanted to attempt something new and something inspiring – hopefully something that will pull you out of your funk and get you to the kitchen, spatula in hand. I went through countless blog posts, Pinterest boards, recipe books, magazines and even old recipe notes. Nothing worked. I just didn’t feel inspired enough. Old recipes seemed unsurmountable. New recipes seemed dull and un-innovative. It was a very strange ennui to my friends and family, whose hungry faces were constantly pressed up near the oven, hoping it will magically spill out treats. No such luck. Until I chanced upon my madeleine mould this afternoon, I thought that this spell would continue well until next month. Then, these madeleines broke me. If they’re good enough for Proust, they are good enough for me.
They had to be lighter than air, if anyone gets the Friends reference. The strange method of preparing the batter had me a little worried about the outcome – these French cookies are notorious (what French dessert isn’t?) for texture and timing – you need to eat these straight out of the oven. The method required beating eggs similar to preparing a genoise and folding in the flour very gently – both of which my patience was too little for. Thank god for stand mixers. They produced perfectly delicate cookies! I also decided to pass up the vanilla and dip these salty-sweet cookies in milk chocolate and roasted pistachios. The pistachio obsession is new but I can feel it taking over. Currently, I’m vying a pistachio pudding based dessert. Now that the curse has finally been lifted, I can’t get enough of butter, sugar and flour. Can I get a hallelujah?
A note about the butter – I live dangerously and despite the super expensive french butter sitting in my fridge, I went ahead and used up the salty and familial Amul butter (indian butter that contains salt). When the salted butter cookies are coupled with the salted pistachios, it makes for an unusual but likable combination for me. You can choose unsalted butter, of course and pair it with dark chocolate (min 53% cocoa solids) for dipping. As for the nuts, they make for an interesting texture – think melt-in-your-mouth with a little bit of a crackle – and roasted pecans, almonds, coconut shavings, freeze dried berries can work wonderfully. If you have access to good European butter, leave out the dipping in the end and enjoy them plain with a little bit of citrus zest grated in. The batter also needs to rest for at least two hours so you should factor that in before starting out. It can be stored for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Of course, a madeleine tin is a must. Mine was a silicon mould that accommodates 24 mini madeleines. If not, a shallow tart mould can also work. See what I mean?
Mini Milk Chocolate Pistachio Madeleines
Yields: 48 mini cookies, approximately
Source: Joy of Baking
For the cookies:
1/2 cup (113g) butter, melted and warm
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
2 tbs (30g) brown sugar
1 cup (120g) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the dip:
1 bar (200g) milk chocolate, chopped
100g pistachios, de-shelled and crushed well
1. In a small saucepan, add butter and melt gently on low flame.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs and sugars. Using a whisk attachment, whisk on high speed for about 4 – 5 minutes till the batter is thick and quite pale. If you lift the whisk, the batter should fall in thick ribbons. Add vanilla and mix in.
3. In a small bowl, add flour and baking powder. Whisk to combine and add 1/3rd of the mixture into the egg mixture and fold in gently to combine without deflating. Continue to add in two additions.
4. Spoon up to 1 cup of the batter into a small bowl and add melted butter. Fold it in to loosen the batter and then add in gradual additions to the remaining of the batter. Refrigerate for up to two hours or three days.
5. When you’re ready to bake, grease and flour the mould and pre-heat the oven to 190 deg C. Line a cookie tray with a silicon mat and place mould onto the tray. Spoon the batter into the cavities and bake for 15 – 18 minutes till the cookies have risen significantly. While the cookies are baking, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10 second bursts till melted and smooth. Working quickly, remove the ready cookies from the moulds and dip the top half in milk chocolate and consequently, crushed pistachios. Set on a plate and refrigerate for a few minutes till the chocolate sets. Serve immediately!