Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's in a name?

When I was pregnant with both of my children, we didn't find out the gender until they were born.  So we were prepared with names for both possibilities.  It drove some of my friends crazy that we wouldn't tell the names ahead of time, either.  But I really didn't want to hear anyone's opinions in advance.  The names we chose for both girls followed the same sort of pattern as the names that my sisters and I all have.  Our middle names are all family names, but the first names are just names that my parents liked, as far as I know.  That's the case for Brianna and Gillian--I picked the names because I liked them, and J liked them too.  Their middle names are both family names from J's side--Gillian's middle name of Rose comes from J's grandmother, and B's middle name comes from his great-grandmother.  Her name was Maddalena (she was Italian), but we went with a more American version, Madeline.  But we pronounce it the same as Madeleine, with a short i sound, not a long one.  

So B was understandably intrigued by the name for these shell-shaped cookies.  Or are they cakes?  Whatever you call them, they're yummy.  And they just happen to be my pick for Tuesdays with Dorie this week.  I wasn't really expecting to get another chance to host, but I'm glad I got to pick these Mini Madeleines.  I bought my madeleine pans (both big and small) for the first madeleine recipe that we made back in May 2008.  It was actually just a couple weeks before my first pick.  The sad thing is that I've been so busy baking other things that I haven't used the pans much since then.  I need to change that...

As usual, I didn't quite manage to make this recipe exactly as Dorie wrote it.  My changes were small, though.  I increased the salt to 1/4 teaspoon, since I think it helps bring out the other flavors.  I went without one of those flavors, though, omitting the lemon zest.  I'm sure they're great with it, but I wanted to focus on the brown sugar flavor.  To that end, I also made a change with one of the sweeteners, using Lyle's Golden Syrup in place of the honey.  

For the actual baking, I also deviated from the recipe a bit, but with good reason.  I remembered that over the summer, I'd read a post about madeleines on Dorie's blog.  She experimented with putting her madeleine pan on a preheated baking sheet to get a nice bump on the cookies.  I decided to try putting mine on my baking stone (which lives on the bottom rack in my oven) to get a similar effect.  It worked great!  A couple of my baking buddies mentioned that their madeleines got dark really fast, so I made sure to watch mine carefully, and ended up pulling them out at 7 1/2 minutes.  

The verdict?  Well, I'm lucky these lasted long enough for pictures. =)  Brianna and Gillian immediately asked me when I was going to make more.  (J liked them, too.)  Since I only baked one pan, I still have batter in the fridge so I can do that tomorrow.  I may try baking some regular size madeleines with the remaining batter.  I think using my baking stone worked really well for baking these, so I'll definitely use that technique again.

My apologies to Valerie for not even thinking of attempting her pick--Depths of Fall Butternut Squash Pie--this week.  I have enough trouble getting one recipe done right now, let alone two, and didn't want to drop the ball on my hosting duties this week.  To see what everyone thought of the pie, check out the Links for that recipe.  And head over to Valerie's blog for the recipe if you'd like to try the pie.

If you'd like to make the madeleines, I have the recipe below.  You can see how everyone else fared with them in the Links here.  

Mini Madeleines 

2/3 cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
2 large eggs, room temperature
6 tablespoons (75 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (13 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated zest of 1/2 lemon (I omitted)
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon honey (I substituted golden syrup)

confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until smooth.  Whisk in the dry ingredients, followed by the vanilla and lemon zest.  Gently whisk in the melted butter, and finally, the honey.  You'll have a thick, smooth, shiny batter.  Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.  (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and chill, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)

Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Generously butter up to three mini madeleine pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess.  (I coated my pan with baking spray, e.g Pam for Baking.)  Or, if you have nonstick pans, just spray the interiors with vegetable cooking spray.  If you've got silicone pans, they can be used just as they are.  Put the pan(s) on a baking sheet.

Fill each little madeleine mold with about a teaspoon of batter; the molds should be about three-quarters full.  Don't worry about leveling the batter--it will do it by itself in the oven.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden brown around the edges.  Remove the sheet from the oven and give the madeleine pan(s) a hearty rap against the counter.  Gently pry out any cakes that don't want to leave their nests with your fingers or a butter knife.  You can serve the madeleines immediately or put them on a rack to cool.  

Repeat with any remaining batter, making certain to cool and rebutter and flour or respray the pan(s).  

Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioner's sugar.  Makes about 36 cookies.


  1. Your madeleines are so golden and pretty. Thanks for this pick - I had given up on madeleines until I tried this recipe.

  2. What a nice tradition of picking names! I've always loved the name Madeleine (ever since the children's novels). :)

    Your Madeleines look beautiful! Thank you for the preheated sheet tip...I'll have to remember that when I get around the this recipe.

  3. These are just beautiful. So impressive. Need to just have one right now with my cup of coffee. I did not make these this week. I do not have a madeleine pan for one thing. Guess I need to get out and purchase one because I am sure I would love these!

  4. They look beautiful and delicious. Perfect for tea!

  5. The madeleines are lovely and cute. I don't have a mini pan for these. I should have made them in a regular pan. I think madeleines are definitely feminine.

    Thanks for sharing you choosing of names. With my third son, I fell asleep to find out that the family decided on his name. Fortunately, I love it.

  6. They look wonderful! Hope your little "Madeleine" liked them, too!

  7. Nice hump! Thanks for sharing the "bake it on a preheated cookie sheet" tip.

  8. Gorgeous, absolutely perfectly beautiful. How fun about the name!

  9. I didn't know B's middle name was Madeline! How perfectly does that tie in to your selection this week? :) I really loved the flavors of these, probably my new favorite madeleines!

  10. Like Tracey, these are my favorite madeleines. Thanks for the pick! Yours look perfect.

  11. Oh my, they look so perfect! Nice job and a nice pick. These came out better for me than the first time we did them.

  12. Your madeleines look gorgeous! I bought both regular and mini madeleine pans thinking I would make madeleines all the time, but there are always so many other things to bake!

    It's always interesting hearing how people choose their children's names (and I don't even have kids yet); it's such a big decision.

  13. Those madeleine humps are gorgeous. I have made these several times but I never got a chance to blog about them.

  14. Nice! I just buy them at Starbucks or Trader Joe's :) I guess I shouldn't be surprised you have two pans for them!!

    We didn't tell anyone about our name choice before T was born either and it definitely bugged people. But we had to know her gender because I'm too much of a planner. (not that it really matters, when they're tiny babies anyway...)