Once I had decided that I wanted to be a chef when I grew up, I immediately immersed myself in cookbooks. Every weekend, I walked over to the neighborhood bookstore, chose the comfiest couch, and settled in with a cookbook. After bookmarking the recipes I wanted to try, I would hurry home and attempt to recreate the dishes. The first successful baking experiment I had was with madeleines. I’ll admit, at the time I didn’t know what the perfect madeleine, but I was very happy with the results. Even now as I pull out my madeleine pan, I reminisce about those happy days. Today, I’m mixing it up a little bit and creating browned butter pumpkin madeleines. After tweaking a few details, I can proudly say this is one great recipe!
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The perfect madeleine is light and airy with a “hump”. Although it is essentially a mini sponge cake, to me, they taste so much better. With a few minor details, you too can produce the best madeleines in your own kitchen.
Start by bringing your eggs to room temperature. If you begin this recipe and realize halfway that you didn’t take your eggs out yet, there is a simple solution. Just place them in a bowl with warm water for 10 minutes. Easy peasy! Why is this step necessary? Room temperature eggs help the cookies rise higher and result in a lighter cake. This same tip can be used for when you are preparing popovers or chiffon cakes.
Now it’s time to brown the butter. Browned butter is my all-time favorite for sweet and savory dishes. Browned butter mashed potatoes? Yes, please. Browned butter gnocchi? Why not. Browned butter madeleines? Obviously!
Watch your butter as it melts to make sure it doesn’t burn. It will start to foam and emit a lovely nutty aroma. Just beautiful.
Sift together the dry ingredients to remove large clumps, resulting in a smoother batter.
Finish mixing your batter and let it chill. For the same reasons we use room temperature eggs and sift the flour, we want to chill the batter and let it rest. This will help result in a taller, fluffer madeleine.
Bake until the edges of the Madeleine become golden brown. They should pop right out of the mold once they are done baking.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately since madeleines are best served fresh. I did have some leftovers so I reheated them in the microwave and they were still delicious. Madeleines for the win!
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