Tasty Thursdays.. Madeleines

I love Madeleines!  They're buttery, sweet, airy and just delicious!  When we were in Paris we loaded up on these cookies at every bakery we visited.  I was so excited when I received my Madeleine pan in the mail, I instantly whipped up a batch.  And yes, they were as heavenly as the ones we had in Paris! 
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)  or Cooking Spray
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar

a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it's brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, approximately 15-20 minutes. Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) - you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature.

While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter or cooking spray to grease the Madelene pan. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour.

Whip the eggs and salt on high speed until thick - you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume - approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed).  Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 -3/4 full. Bake the Madeleines for 12 - 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the Madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.  View the recipe on 101 Cookbooks.

Other variations to this recipe include dunking the Madeleines in melted chocolate, once cooled.  For the coconut variety: substitute the lemon zest for a tsp of coconut extract and adding sweetened shredded coconut to the batter.

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