I’ve been terribly hung up on these cookies for a long, long time. I have a tough time justifying the purchase of any piece of baking equipment for the sake of a single recipe, but these shell-shaped darlings have been haunting me. It was happening more and more – I’d be perusing my cookbooks when a glossy photograph of Madeleines flavored with honey and cardamom, or lavender and vanilla, or in this case, orange zest and chocolate, would catch my eye. At first, it was easy to dismiss it with a wave of my hand and the excuse that I didn’t have the proper pan for it and move on to a more familiar recipe. But it got worse. Much, much worse.
As the story goes, “Madeleine” is the French name for Magdalene, as in Mary Magdalene the follower of Christ. These little cakes came from Commercy, France, a town housing a convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, whose nuns supported themselves by baking and selling little treats like Madeleines. This is the story I most prefer, but there’s also rumors floating about that they were named for a 19th century pastry chef named Madeleine Paulmier. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how they came to be, all that matters is I finally broke down and paid the fifteen dollars for that shell-shaped pan and got down to business.
My little heart was dead-set on making lemon glazed Madeleines, but Justin kept ‘mentioning’ how much he likes the combination of orange and dark chocolate, and I’m a woman in love. I didn’t last five minutes before I changed my mind, zested an orange and tempered the chocolate. There was much toil and trouble hunting down a recipe, and I quickly learned that all Madeleines are made from a genoise batter and are extra friendly when it comes to swapping out their flavors, so don’t be afraid to be a bit adventurous.
Chocolate Dipped Orange Madeleines
Makes 24 cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp grated orange zest
2 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate - coarsely chopped
Heat butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat just until very light golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl with a hand blender until tripled in volume. Lower speed to medium and beat in the vanilla, orange juice and orange zest. Fold in flour mixture a little (1/3rd) at a time. Finally fold in the cooled butter. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until slightly firm.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Apply butter or non-stick cooking spray to two 12-mold Madeleine pans and dust them lightly with flour. Drop a generous spoonful or two of batter (I used my cookie scoop, it was perfect) into center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and centers spring back when lightly touched.
Remove the pans from oven and tap them sharply against a countertop to release the Madeleine, then leave them to cool on wire racks.
Place chocolate in small microwave-safe cup. Microwave on medium (50% power) for 1 minute or a little more, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate has almost melted. Whisk a little to make it smooth. Do NOT overheat.
Dip each Madeleine into melted chocolate, coating bottom third part of the cookie. Shake off excess chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat for all the cookies and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until chocolate is set.