Brown Butter Madeleines

A traditional tea cake of Proustian fame, madeleines are good with a cup of hot tea or an espresso. They are miraculous when made with imported French butter, with its added richness. (mail order sources.) The use of brown butter gives them an added twist.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces ( sticks) sweet butter
  • 2 tablespoons soft sweet butter
  • ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting the cookies)

3 dozen 3-inch madeleine molds

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the 6 ounces of butter in a small pot. Heat the butter over medium heat until it is brown and gives off a nutty aroma. Strain and cool the butter to room temperature.

Butter the madeleine molds with the 2 tablespoons soft butter. Dust the molds with the 3 tablespoons flour. Invert the pans and tap out any excess flour.

Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip on high speed until thick, about 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream and whip for 2 minutes, until the mixture is thick and ribbony. Decrease to low speed and add the lemon zest and vanilla extract.

By hand, fold one-third of the flour into the batter, followed by one-third of the melted butter. Continue folding the remaining flour and butter, one-half at a time, into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared molds, filling them two-thirds full.

Bake the madeleines for about 10 minutes, until golden brown. They should spring back when lightly touched. Remove them from the oven and unmold immediately by hitting the edge of the pan on the counter. When cool, dust with the powdered sugar.

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