"And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before church-time), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the interval, without tasting them, on the trays in pastry-cooks’ windows, that their image had dissociated itself from those Combray days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the forms of things, including that of the little scallop-shell of pastry, so richly sensual under its severe, religious folds, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness."
- Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
If you're not familiar with Marcel Proust or madeleine cookies, it's time for you to get acquainted (I'd say the cookies first). Madeleine cookies have always been a favorite of mine, and after a failed attempt with a bad recipe, I took a break from madeleines. However, my interest returned. Living in Montreal, every tiny market on every street corner has packaged pastries, including madeleine cookies. I've never tried them, as I'm always scared of wasting pennies on pre-packaged pastries, but decided to make my own. I used the recipe from 101 Cookbooks, cut it and half, and I think it worked wonderfully. A side note, these cookies to not create that "bump" on the back of the cookies, but none the less, I found them delicious, and with this recipe, there's no chilling for several hours, which means more cookies right away!
makes 15-20 regular sized cookies
3 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tbs. all purpose flour
2 large eggs
a pinch of fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Melt butter in a skillet until it browns and gives off a nutty aroma. Strain the butter, discarding the white solids, and set aside and cool. Meanwhile, butter and flour your madeleine pan, shaking off any excess flour. Using an electric mixer, mix eggs and salt on high until it thickens and lightens in color, approximately 3 minutes. Slowly add sugar in a small stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until thickened and ribbony in texture. With a rubber spatula, fold in lemon zest and vanilla extract just until combined. Sprinkle flour on top of the batter and gently fold in. Next, fold in the cooled, melted butter, just until combined. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown and springs up when touched. Remove back rapping the pan against the counter, loosening the cookies, or use a fork to carefully lift cookies out of the molds. Cool on a rack, dust with powdered sugar.