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Orange Madeleines Recipe & Video

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Orange Madeleines are small buttery, orange flavored sponge cakes that have crisp golden brown edges and a wonderfully moist and tender crumb. This French tea cake is instantly recognizable as they are baked in a special pan that gives them a scalloped shell shape that is ribbed on one side, and smooth, with a hump, on the other. A dusting of powdered sugar is all that they really need, although you could dip the ends of the Madeleines in melted chocolate. 


Madeleines are made with a sponge-like batter (actually a Genoise). And like most sponge batters it starts with a beaten mixture of eggs and sugar into which is added sifted flour. The difference between a regular sponge and a Genoise is that we add warm melted brown butter which makes the Madeleines light and tender with a buttery flavor. The melted butter needs to be warm, so it does not solidify once it is added to the batter, causing streaks. To give the Madeleines a nice orange flavor we are adding a little freshly squeezed orange, freshly grated orange zest, and pure orange extract.

What makes these little cakes so unique is that they're baked in special oval shaped molds with ribbed indentations that gives them a pretty shell shape. (However, you can use small tarts pans or mini muffin pans.) It is important to properly butter and flour your pans so that the Madeleines release easily after baking. Madeleines are at their best when freshly made. While you can use the batter immediately, you will not get that characteristic "hump", so try to chill the batter at least 3-4 hours before using. The good part is that the batter can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about three days, so you don't have to make all the cookies at once. And once baked, you can dip the ends of the Madeleines in melted chocolate or brush the still warm Madeleines with an orange glaze, made by stirring together 1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar with about 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice.

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Orange Madeleines: In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and then cook it until it is a very light golden brown. Remove from heat and keep warm.

In a small bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugars on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.). Beat in the vanilla extract, orange extract, orange zest, and juice. Then sift about one-third of the flour mixture over the whipped eggs and gently fold in, using a rubber spatula or whisk. Sift and fold in half of the remaining flour, and then sift and fold in the rest. (Do not over mix or the batter will deflate). 

Then take about 1 cup of the batter and fold it into the warm melted butter. (This lightens the butter making it easier to fold into the batter.) Then, with a spatula, gently fold the butter mixture completely into the egg batter. Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least 3 to 4 hours, preferably overnight (can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days).  

When you're ready to bake the Madeleines, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Using a pastry brush, generously grease the molds of two - 12 - 3 1/2 inch (8.5 cm) Madeleine pans (preferably non stick) with melted butter. Then dust the molds with flour, tapping out the excess flour. Refrigerate the pans until the butter hardens (about 10 minutes). (Make sure the pans are well greased or the Madeleines will stick and be hard to remove.)

Drop a heaping tablespoonful (about 25 grams) (can use an ice cream scoop) of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center. (This will result in the classic "humped or domed" appearance of the Madeleines.)

Bake the Madeleines for about 8 to 11 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched. A toothpick inserted into the center of a Madeleine will come out clean. (Do not over bake or they will be dry.)

Remove from oven and immediately tap the pan against the counter to release the Madeleines. Place Madeleines on a wire rack to cool. Best served immediately but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a couple of days or frozen for up to 1 month. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Makes about 20 to 22 - 3 1/2 inch (8.5 cm) Madeleines.

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Orange Madeleines Recipe:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt

3 large eggs (150 grams), at room temperature

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

3 tablespoons (35 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) pure orange extract

Freshly grated zest of one Orange

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

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