Madeleines are one of those things that people think Frenchies sit around nibbling all day long with tiny coffees but they really don’t. You’ve heard of the French Paradox? Well, this is the French Madeleine Myth. Nobody eats them.
Reason is they’re bo-ring. And almost always tasteless and dry.
So why did I bother making them and writing a post about it?
Well, because the ones I had a couple of weeks ago at Blé Sucre, considered one of the top boulangerie/patisseries in Paris, was not any of these things.
It was transformational. Light as air — like a shell-shaped cakey cloud — and slightly crisp around the edges, as any cookie should be, even though these are far more gâteau than cookie, if you ask me. Plus it had the thing that proper madeleines must have: a poof. But it also had something that most do not: a glaze. Which is sets Blé Sucre’s madeleines apart from the rest and frankly, what gives them their magic.
So imagine my glee when the other day, I was glancing through an old issue of Bon Appetit and found a photograph of said magic madeleines that said I could find the recipe online, which I did.
And my double, triple jolt of happy when these turned out to taste EXACTLY like the ones that I’d just eaten. They were, in a word, perfect.
Which is why I ate four of them — four, y’all! — just like that.
I will make them for my next party. I will make them for people I love. I will make these again and again, wherever I am, because they are easy, elegant, and most wonderful with coffees both tiny and grande. And I will eat them all damn day long.
Blé Sucre’s Glazed Madeleines
Adapted from a recipe from Blé Sucre in Paris found in Bon Appetit (March 2012)
Know that the batter will thicken up like crazy. Don’t worry. Just be sure and let it rest in the fridge overnight so it makes the bubbles needed to give it the tummy poof. Also, I cut back on the amount of orange zest called for in the recipe because what I liked about the Blé Sucre madeleines was that they weren’t too citrusy — and I’m glad I did. The reduced amount of zest means the madeleines have a very slight orangey flavor and the glaze amps it up just fine.
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of finely grated orange zest
- ½ cup/100 grams of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons of milk
- 1 ¼ sticks (10 tablespoons/150 grams) of butter, melted
- 1 cup/120 grams of powdered sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
1. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl and set this aside.
2. In another small bowl, rub the orange zest into the sugar with your fingers — a trick I learned from Dorie Greenspan that helps to perfume the sugar. Now pour this into your mixer bowl along with the eggs and beat until it’s light yellow.
3. Add the flour and blend. Now add the milk and the melted butter and mix this until the batter is shiny. Cover and refrigerate overnight so the batter will rest and make bubbles — this is so you’ll get poofy tummy madeleines — no one wants a flat stomach on a madeleine.
4. The next day, preheat your oven to 450°F/230°C and generously butter your madeleine pan. Your batter may be very thick. Worry not. Just spoon out enough to fill to the top and slide into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes if you have a convection oven; slightly longer if not. Know that my madeleines poofed easily and quickly with the convection setting and didn’t poof as much cooking them the conventional way – but they were just as delicious. Either way, let them bake until they’re brown on the edges and a bit inside, too. Remove from the oven and give it a good whack on the countertop to release the madeleines. Let them cool five minutes before you glaze them.
5. To make the glaze, simply whisk the powdered sugar and orange juice together in a smallish bowl, but one big enough to dip the madeleines in. When they’ve cooled, simply dip the non-ridged side into the glaze and then put them on a rack to dry. It won’t take long — and neither will eating them. These taste best the day they’re made.