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Sweet Madeleine

These delicate mini Madeleines are flavoured with orange, almond and browned butter and are utterly irresistible..

I'm actually a massive hoarder of baking utensils because, well, you never know when you might need something, right. So I've had these mini Madeleine tins sitting in my 'baking storage space' for years but have never actually attempted these delicious cookies. However, a few weeks ago I realised that I'd unintentionally named my daughter after this delicate baked good... It was then I just knew that I had to make them!

I'll be honest though, I've only really once eaten Madeleines and they weren't from a French bakery so I'm not certain that my version is anything close to authentic, but I had a texture and flavour I was aiming for set in my mind, and I think these have come in on point. The texture is that between a cookie and a butter cake. They're light from having the eggs thoroughly beaten with the sugar to create a light, airy mass, but they're not as dry as a cookie. They have a slight dense moisture that comes from the addition of almond meal which I love. Traditionally Madeleines should be eaten as fresh from the oven as possible. I was hoping that with the addition of almond meal and a light orange syrupy glaze they would remain tender and moist even the following day (if any had lasted that long!)

I'm a huge fan of citrus and we'd recently been gifted some beautifully juicy oranges fresh from a friend's tree, once I'd decided to make Madeleines I instantly knew I would make my favourite pairing of orange and almond. I added the browned butter just because Iove the nuttiness that brings, and I think it definitely enhances the gorgeous flavour of the citrus, not to mention the aroma that fills your home is just amazing. I'd really love to know if you give them a try!

Orange & Almond Madeleines with Browned Butter

40g plain flour 40g self-raising flour 30g almond meal 2 whole eggs 100g castor sugar 100g browned butter zest of 1 orange 1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste tiny pinch salt

The first thing I do is prepare the browned butter, this gives the butter time to cool down while you prepare the trays later.

Weigh the butter into a small saucepan and heat gently on a medium burner until completely melted. Once the butter has melted continue heating gently, you will notice the butter begin to foam. Once I see this, I know that the butterfat and milk solids are beginning to separate and I will lift the saucepan from the heat until the bubbles subside and continue heating until I begin to see the milk solids begin to colour. The milk solids will fall to the bottom of your pan and quickly turn a deep hazelnutty brown colour. When you are happy with the colour, remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the butter through a fine sieve into a separate bowl. This will stop the cooking process and allow your browned butter time to cool.

Prepare your baking trays

To prepare the baking trays, use some softened butter and a pastry brush and brush the cavities liberally to coat. Dust the tray with plain flour and shake it around to make sure the entire mold is coated. Flip your baking tray over a sink and tap the excess flour out, so you are left with an even coating over the entire tray. I pop my prepared tray in the freezer to chill as the thermal shock of an ice cold tray going into a hot oven helps create those little bumps traditionally on madeleines.

Make your batter by following along with the video below. I'll also provide some basic steps for you to follow if you prefer reading the directions.

Combine the orange zest with the sugar

Add vanilla to the eggs and begin beating to break the eggs down. Add the sugar with the orange zest and beat on high speed until light, pale and fluffy and triple in volume. This can take 5-6 minutes.

Mix together the flours, salt and almond meal, mix briefly with a spoon to combine then pour the entire amount into the egg mixture. Fold gently using a soft spatula until evenly combined and no there are no pockets of dry mix remaining.

Now, one thing to remember when baking is that things mix together better when they are similar temperatures and similar consistencies. As you'll see in the video I decant the browned butter into a fresh bowl to keep any grainy sediment out of the batter, then I add 2 large scoops of the sponge mixture into the butter. Mix this together until smooth with a whisk and once again fold into the remaining sponge mixture. Cover the batter with glad wrap and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. This will allow the batter to rest and chill, once again adding to the thermal shock that will create the little bumps on your Madeleines.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C

Fill a piping bag with about half of your batter and remove the baking tray from the freezer. Pipe the batter into the cavities. Don't be too worried that the mixture is firm, it will firm up a fair amount in the fridge as the butter solidifies again but will relax and spread again once in the oven. Try not to overfill the cavities again as the batter will spread as it softens.

Bake mini Madeleines for 7 minutes and large Madeleine trays for 10-11 minutes, until puffed and golden at the edges. If you gently touch the dome of the Madeleine, it should spring back indicating it's completely baked.

I remove the cookies from the tray while still hot. I've found that they tend to stick more to the pan if they are left to cool. Pop the cookies out onto a baking tray and brush while still hot from the oven with the orange syrup glaze.

Wipe the Madeleine tray clean using a kitchen towel and pressing any crumbs out of the cavities before liberally coating again in butter and dusting with flour. With the second addition of Madeleine batter, I simply pipe the mixture into the baking tray and pop the entire filled tray into the fridge for 10 minutes before baking again. This quantity of batter makes about 48 mini Madeleines.

Orange Syrup Glaze

135g icing sugar mixture (sifted)

zest from 1/2 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

10g soft butter

3-4 tablespoons boiling water

Place everything together into a bowl and mix to thoroughly combine. If the butter hasn't melted into the glaze simply heat gently in the microwave 1 - 2, 10 second bursts. If you find the glaze is still too thick just add more boiling water until you are happy with the consistency.

Using a pastry brush, paint the Madeleines with a liberal amount of the sticky glaze and set aside on the cooling rack to cool and set.

These little morsels are honestly so delicious freshly iced and eaten while still warm. I definitely think my addition of almond meal and the orange syrup glaze helps keep them fresh and tender even the next day, if any last that long!!

I really hope you do enjoy making and eating them as much as I have! x

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