A lifetime ago I was that person who paid $1.50 for two stinking Madeleine cookies at the checkout in Starbucks. I coveted those little cakes but always knew that they would disappoint because Madeleines are best served fresh and not in a cellophane package months after baking.
It was a happy accident years later while in Paris that we literally tripped over a display of Sans Gluten foods in our local Monoprix. Among the pickings were Madeleines. Of course they were wrapped in cellophane but I was willing to take a chance. After all, it was France. And I was pleased that they tasted good enough to make me think they were (almost) fresh from the oven. They were chubby with a decent Madeleine hump, and had a buttery flavor that just made them melt in your mouth.
Not only did we eat our way through several packages during our stay but we mailed home many other boxes and stuffed as many as possible into our suitcases. Sans Gluten products in France were nothing like what was available in the United States at that time. It was like the difference between freezer pizza and one that you might eat wandering a Piazza in Italy.
I tried to find a recipe that came close to matching that box of Madeleines from France. But it wasn’t until my fingers tripped over the keyboard on yet another search that I found this recipe here. I want to kiss Ana Sofia for leading me to the right place to recreate this favorite treat. This is from the Julia Child book – From Julia Child’s Kitchen.
There are some subtle differences in preparation for these GF Petite Madeleines that you must do to make sure they come out with a proper hump and still have a buttery, yet not crumbly texture. I am a big fan of lemon in baking, but lemon was not the flavor that made these sing. Simple vanilla bean let the nutty toasty flavor of the brown butter in the Madeleine shine through. I also wanted to have a deeper flavor so really browning the butter became important. Nutty dark brown, just a hair away from being a carbon experiment is where you want that to be. Don’t even bother to strain it because all those little brown bits are tasty.
Follow the directions and soon you can have a pan full of La Petite Madeleines for yourself. Give them a little dusting of powdered sugar to dress them up and just eat them warm from the oven. Now when I see those sad little packages at Starbucks for way more than $1.50 these days, I kind of feel sorry for them. And then I go home and eat some really good homemade gluten-free Madeleines.
|La Petite Madeleine, Gluten Free||
- 115 grams unsalted butter, browned and cooled
- 120 grams GF flour (about ⅔ cup) (evenly divided among superfine brown rice, superfine white rice and tapioca flour/starch)
- 110 grams white sugar (about ½ cup)
- 2 whole large eggs (about 110 grams total)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla flavoring
- option: 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted lightly on top of warm, freshly baked cookies
- The batter will need at least an hour to chill in the refrigerator so plan ahead.
- In a small saucepan, brown the butter over medium low heat until nutty brown and fragrant. Be patient – let it get really nutty brown. You can strain the butter or not. I like it both ways. Take one tablespoon of the brown butter and mix it with about two teaspoons of superfine white rice flour. Brush two madeleine pans and set them aside. Be sure to get every little nook but don’t puddle the butter in the bottom of the shells. Work quickly – at least in my CA kitchen, the butter was starting to set by the time I got the last part of the pan.
- In a medium bowl weigh the flour and sugar. Whisk to combine. Beat the eggs in a small prep dish and mix into the flour/sugar. Using a wooden spoon keep mixing until the flour, sugar, egg mixtures goes from clumpy stiff to something like thick pancake batter. You’ll see it start to happen rather quickly. Keep mixing a little bit more. Cover the bowl and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Mix in the cooled (but not solid) brown butter and incorporate. You’ll have to mix vigorously for a minute and do a dance between folding and beating to get it all mixed in. Sprinkle the salt on top, and drop in the flavoring and mix again to incorporate. Cover the whole thing and pop it into the refrigerator for at least an hour. More chilling is better than less. You want it quite chilly. Sometimes I leave it overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375. Scoop into prepared pans – think heaping tablespoon sized scoops. Don’t try to flatten them. They start out looking like little baseball lumps but soon start to fill in the space. Bake about 13-15 minutes or just until the edges are slightly golden. The last few minutes the happy hump should form (yay) which means they are going to look fabulous. Remove from the pan immediately by turning it upside down and giving it a good but targeted whack toward the cooling rack. Cool hump side up. Dust with powdered sugar if you like while just warm. And enjoy La Petite Madeleine with a cup of really great coffee.