Chocolate Madeleines + Tahini Glaze
Displayed on the shelves of the boulangeries, next to the oversize meringues and giant almond tuiles, I always passed them by. As cute as they were, with so many other choices — I could eat a palmier or a 100-gram bag of chouquettes at any time of day — I was never tempted to buy the French shell-shaped cookie that’s more of a cake.
One afternoon, while interviewing Bruno Doucet, the chef/owner of La Regalade in Paris, the waiter brought out a small plate with three just-baked madeleines, still warm from the oven. Slightly sweet, light in texture and crisp on the edges, with my after-lunch café noisette, they were perfect. I couldn’t stop thinking about them as I took the metro home, and days after that.
I tend to obsess.
So I went to Blé Sucré, the small patisserie near Bastille, said have the best madeleines in the city according to Le Figaro. I’d been there before for a caramel crème filled religieuse, an éclair-like pastry that was so amazing I’ve not tried to replicate the experience for fear that it would erase the memory of that first bite.
Blé Sucré’s mini madeleines, sold in small clear plastic sacks, were two-bite versions and slightly lemony. Luckily, I found the recipe online and made them myself. They were easy — but best eaten within the first few hours, or even better, like the ones I had at La Regalade, right from the oven.
Fast forward to this past summer. While in staying in Santa Fe, I found what appeared to be an unused, pristine madeleine pan at the Goodwill store for $2.99. I tried –and failed–several times while I was in the mountains to make the Blé Sucré recipe (but baking at 7,000 feet requires more tweaking and patience than I possessed at the time) and I’ve had madeleines on my mind since then.
Because it’s been cold around here, I’ve been in the mood for chocolate, so I adjusted the recipe slightly, put the batter in the fridge to hang out overnight, then got carried away with other baking projects…and completely forgot about it for a couple of days.
This turned out to be a good thing. When I finally got around to baking them, their little tummies poofed up like never before. Light as clouds, they were. And tahini? I’d seen a recipe with tahini and chocolate in French Elle not too long ago so I thought I’d do something similar here — its light nuttiness is a great foil to chocolate’s richness, turns out.
Plus I’m always feeling a little bit nutty, anyway — especially this time of year. I’m not sure how the last twelve months have disappeared so quickly, but it’s been a doozie, hasn’t it? I say let’s all bake more and eat more chocolate in 2017. It has to help.
Chocolate Madeleines + Tahini Glaze
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ¼ cup baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 10 tablespoons/ 1 ¼ sticks butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the madeleine pans
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon tahini*
- 1 tablespoon whole milk (you may need a bit more to thin it out)
- white sesame seeds, for sprinkling
- Whisk the flour, chocolate, baking powder and sea salt together in a small bowl.
- In your mixer bowl, add the sugar and eggs and mix until pale yellow, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the flour and blend.
- Add the milk and the cooled, melted butter and mix for 3 or more minutes, or until the batter is shiny. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or completely forget about it for 3 days and you’ll have the poofiest madeleines you’ve ever seen).
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and generously brush melted butter in your madeleine pans (if you don’t have these, cupcake pans will work just fine). Use a scoop to put the batter — now very thick — in the molds. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tummies puff and when you touch them, they spring back. Release the madeleines from the pans right away, giving the back of the pan a whack with a rolling pin, then flip them over so they can cool for five minutes before adding the glaze.
- Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, tahini, and whole milk. Drizzle on the madeleines, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
*I like Al Wadi brand tahini. It’s lighter in taste and thinner in texture than many other brands.