Mad about Madeleines

France has given us so many wonderful things: French Fries, the Eiffel Tower, and berets—just to name a few—but one of the things we love most of all from France is the madeleine—and Champagne, of course. These soft little cake-like and shell-shaped cookies are truly a god send—probably from Eros or Cupid—because after one bite you too will be in love. The cookies were created somewhere in France and Spain but how the cookie got it’s name is still undecided. However, it seems they were brought into vogue by, of all places, Versailles, by Louis the XV and his bride Marie. For Valentine’s Day, what could be more romantic than France, Versailles, and madeleines?

I twisted the traditional madeleine recipe with two different flavors—lemon and raspberry. My inspiration came from a few different sources. First, my good friend Ingrid started blogging at Sweet Comfort Kitchen and Madeleines were her first post, then there’s Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen with her raspberry lemon curd interpretation, and finally while googling I stumbled across Coffee and Crumpets’ Red Strawberry Madeleines.

If you’re making dinner for your loved one(s) this Saturday night and don’t want to serve the ubiquitous chocolate lava cake for dessert, but want something easy, light, and a little fun in the kitchen, give these a go. The batter should be made in advance and allowed to rest in the fridge, which means these are ready to go when you are. The only special equipment you’ll need is a set of cute Madeleine pans which you can find at most kitchen supply stores or Amazon, because they have everything. You can also use a mini muffin pan if you’re in a pinch.

Raspberry and Lemon Madeleines

1 1/2 cups plain or all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, 8 tablespoons melted and cooled
2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup raspberry puree (1 cup raspberries with 2 tablespoons dehydrated raspberries, 1 tablespoon sugar and a pinch of salt, pureed in a blender and strained)
1-4 drops of red food coloring (optional, but necessary for dramatic contrast)

Lemon Glaze (optional)
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Whisk together flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Melt the butter and honey together, add the salt and cool.

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment add the eggs and granulated sugar; whisk on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift flour mixture over the top in 2 additions, folding in after each addition. Add the melted butter and honey mixture and stir until all flour is combined.

Divide the batter in two; add lemon zest and juice to one and raspberry puree to the other. Pour the mixtures into two zip lock bags and refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let batter stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Generously butter 2 standard-size or 2 mini nonstick or aluminum madeleine pans using a pastry brush and dust lightly with flour; tap out any excess flour.

Snip off a very small corner of the zip lock bag. Pipe some of the raspberry batter into molds   and then some lemon in the same molds. Being creative in the process and filling each about three-quarters full. Bake on middle rack until pale gold, 8 to 11 minutes (6 to 8 minutes for mini madeleines). Immediately shake madeleines out. Wash and rebutter molds. Repeat with remaining batter. Dust baked madeleines with confectioners’ sugar or cover with a simple lemon glaze.

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