It’s early morning and you’re brewing a good cup of your favorite coffee. Or it’s about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and it’s definitely time for a pick-me-up. Madeleines are a really quick and easy snack cake that are perfect for those occasions when you’re looking for just a little something to go with your morning or afternoon hot beverage break. Originating in northeastern France as a plain little sponge cake, all sorts of flavors are now in vogue, making it much more fun to experiment with madeleine batter. I don’t know the history of why it’s baked in this particular shell shape that is its unique identifying factor.
Having just bought a fresh new jar of espresso powder, I decided to make my madeleines all about this robust coffee flavor. And I'm very glad I did. These quickly became one of my favorite madeleine permutations. The brown sugar and a light pinch of cinnamon really round out the flavor. They’re light and delicious and give you a nice little jolt of coffee flavor, perfect for the adult madeleine lovers in your circle.
Note that these little cakes are baked at a higher temperature so it can be very easy to over bake them. Instead of light soft and moist cakes, you get tough and dry rubbery slabs, so keep your eye on them. They don’t take on much color and should spring back when you touch them with your finger.
I've got more madeleine ideas up my sleeve, so stay tuned madeleine lovers!
- Instant espresso powder can be found at Italian delicatessens, gourmet food shops, some grocery stores and online. I think MedagliaD’Oro is best because it has great flavor, is fine grained and doesn’t clump. I’ve also used Ferrara. You can store nstant espresso powder indefinitely.
- A #40 ice cream scoop is perfect to portion the batter. (The #40 refers to 40 scoops per quart.)
- I experimented with dipping these in chocolate. Nice idea but the dark chocolate proved to be too overwhelming and obscured the espresso flavor.
- Madeleines are best eaten the same day.
- For a fun seasonal madeleine, try Pumpkin Pecan Madeleines.
Makes about 20 madeleines
3 oz (6 tablespoons) butter
3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teapoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs @ room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Generously butter one madeleine mold pan and eight wells in a second pan. Lightly dust with flour.
Melt the butter, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside.
Beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted, about 5 – 6 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and beat in the vanilla and espresso powder until blended.
Using a large rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the beaten eggs in 3 equal additions. Then fold in the cooled melted butter in 3 equal additions until thoroughly blended.
Fill the wells of the prepared madeleine pans. Bake until the cakes spring back when touched, about 10 –12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 1 minute, then tilt the pans to dislodge them. Cool completely on a wire rack.