Madeleines to me have always been a bit untouchable – you know, one of those things you look at and say that is better left to someone else to make (because I couldn’t possibly produce that sort of perfection!). I loved conquering that fear here. Yes, they take a bit of finesse to make the genoise batter (the base of them) but can easily be mastered in one or two try’s, and THEN become a serious piece in your culinary arsenal. I plan to show these off, in fact, at my Thanksgiving table…
Kourabiedes are a Greek, shortbread cookie that are served at holidays, particularly Christmas. As opposed to a traditional shortbread, these cookies have almonds ground up in the batter, rosewater to scent them, and are crescent-shaped and dusted with powdered sugar.
Kourabiedes were absolutely the inspiration for me to create these fluffy, buttery madeleines. As opposed to grinding up the almonds, I used almond extract here to keep the integrity of the madeleine – that signature spongy texture. I also went ahead and browned the butter before adding it to the batter; brown butter is simply butter that has been cooked until the milk solids turn a golden color and it smells like hazelnuts. It adds a beautiful, nutty undertone to complement the almond flavor. The key to this batter is beating the eggs until they have tripled in volume, not deflating it when adding in the flour and browned butter, and resting it a bit before cooking. The result: light as air, addictive and buttery madeleines that are nutty and perfumed with rosewater. Enjoy!
Yields 1 dozen
5 tbsps unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/3 cups sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 ½ tbsps rose water
1/2 cup + 2 tbsps all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
extra butter and flour for greasing
In a small pan, heat butter over medium-low heat until it browns and gives off a hazelnut aroma. Be careful not to burn. Strain butter through a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined mesh strainer and set aside to cool completely.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat eggs with sugar until they have tripled in volume and the mixture is extremely foamy. When the beater is lifted, a ribbon should form. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract and rosewater and beat for a few seconds to incorporate.
Sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. If you are using a stand mixer, remove the bowl from the stand. Otherwise, carefully fold in the flour mixture using a spatula. You don’t want to work it too much or the mixture will deflate. Add a little of the mixture to the cooled brown butter and fold it all back in carefully. Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 375º F. Generously grease a madeleine pan (I used non-stick) with softened or melted butter and then dust with flour, shaking off any excess. Divide the dough amongst the 12 molds, letting a tablespoon or so just heap in the center.
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes on the center rack of the oven until the edges look golden brown and the centers feel a bit spongy. Serve the same day sprinkled with powdered sugar.