Yesterday when I should have been doing doing my taxes, I looked up all kinds of recipes for madeleines, the pretty little cookie I've never made but always love, so delicate and lovely and femininely refined.
I thought it sounded, well... pretty to use rosewater and some fresh rose petals to make the already delicate sounding madeleines even more ethereal. Madeleines seem to come in different levels of difficulty and after many hours of indecision, I finally focused on this recipe, below, from 101 cookbooks. For one, it didn't intimidate me (I mean, google madeleines and you'll see what I mean) and secondly, Heidi explains everything fully, including what the butter should smell like and what the eggs should look like, perfect for my kindergarten level baking skills.
Here is the recipe again, exactly as it looks on 101 cookbooks. I needed to sub wheat-free flour (which was no problem at all--thanks for the hint Aran!) and instead of the lemon zest, I added a teaspoon or so of rosewater hoping like crazy I wouldn't throw off the batter. I also cut into a chiffonade (fancy), some pink rose petals from my landlord's garden and scattered them on top like a flowergirl for an extra rosey sensory experience.
(This is 101's recipe verbatim--I hope that's ok--but I omitted the lemon rind and substituted rosewater and petals--read her post which is great and the original here.)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon rosewater
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar and some fine strips of organic (non-treated) rose petals
a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan
A Madeleine Pan
Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it's brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) - you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling.
While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to grease the madeleine molds - get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour. Lanha uses "cooking spray" with flour to simplify this part.
Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until thick - you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume - approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula fold in the rosewater and vanilla (just until mixed).
Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together.
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 –3/4 full. I use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable, it is easier than using a spoon.
Bake the madeleines for 12 - 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.
Although mine weren't nearly perfect, (see the great matcha diamant experiment of '08), I was happy to get that little "madeleine's hump", the one which, from the many recipes I perused, is a sad thing if it doesn't appear.
I was also happy that Jim loved them. I wish all my new daring baker heroines and heroes could see this cool jewelry designer now, with crumbs and powdered sugar all down the front of her shirt.
(We had them with a some very nice jasmine mint tea--the jasmine tea that Sandy brought back for us from China mingled with a bunch of mint from the mint pot--my happy new tea fusion served in my grandmother's teapot.)