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Thursday, July 14, 2005 

Happy Bastille Day!

One of the most french of all desserts is the delightful madeleine! What a great way to celebrate Fête nationale!

Marcel Proust's madeleine is the cliché cookie—a highbrow reference that's penetrated pop culture. (Take the Sopranos episode in which Tony's Proustian madeleine is a slice of cappicola.) The great French author put madeleines on the map, and probably in our mouths, too. We surely have him to thank for those little packages at every Starbucks checkout. -
Slate


MADELEINES AU CHOCOLAT

Madeleines are good any time, any where. Here are some secrets to making madeleines, and a wonderful chocolate version which is guaranteed to please!

• Make the dough up to three days in advance and chill it in the refrigerator.• Heavily butter the molds and chill them so the butter hardens before the molds are filled with batter.• Refrigerate the filled molds before baking.• Make sure the oven is fully hot before baking the madeleines.• Bake for no longer than 7 minutes — the madeleines should not quite spring back when you touch them. This ensures a moist result.

3/4 cup (100g) all-purpose flour
Half cup (90g) unsweetened cocoa
Pinch salt 4 large eggs
1 cup (200g) vanilla sugar
12 tablespoons (6 ounces; 185g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Butter for buttering the madeleine tins

1. Sift together the flour, cocoa and the salt.
2. Place the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until thick and lemon-colored. Fold in the flour, then melted butter.
3. Butter the madeleine pans, then spoon in the batter, filling each about three fourths full. Refrigerate the filled madeleine pans and the remaining batter for one hour.
4. Heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
5. Bake the madeleines just until they are firm and puffed, about 7 minutes. Turn them immediately from the molds, wipe out the molds, let cool and continue baking the madeleines until all of the batter is used. The madeleines are best when eaten slightly warm or at room temperature the same day they are made.Makes about 36 madeleines.

Letter from France
Susan Herrmann Loomis

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