The light at the end of the wedding tunnel is rapidly approaching and heck, I'll be honest, it's sort of blinding. At least five times per day, someone asks me if all the planning is done and, after weeks of this, I finally realized that I was telling big fat lies each time I smiled and said, "Just about!" So sorry if you have been one of those people, but the planning is almost never finished. It's sort of maddening, really. Being asked to make decisions on the tiniest of matters is a new form of torture - like what color the ribbon around the top of the ceremony program should be. Would I like sage green, parsley green, kelly green, mint green, celadon green, fern green, jungle green...for heaven's sake - just give me green!
Thankfully, my sweet mother has held my hand and refilled my wine glass every step of the way. She didn't even judge me when I poured myself a glass at eleven in the morning on a weekday (creating a seating chart is particularly stressful). To top off the bridal blitzkrieg, Justin and I closed on our house this week, which is equal parts exciting and terrifying - the exciting part being the electric dustpan built into the bottom of the kitchen island that sucks up dirt with the click of a button (never gets old), and the terrifying part being the heart-stopping large numbers on the papers we signed at settlement. If I never do that again, I'll be just fine. And while we're here, the next person to ask when we're having a baby gets a frying pan to the face.
Somewhere in all the hustle bustle, I made these madeleines. As I was packing up the 457 baking pans I own, I dug up the seashell shaped pan from the bottom of the cabinet and was instantly panged with guilt - I made such a fuss over getting it for so long and I'd only used it once. Madeleines are the sort of cakey-cookies you can pull off even when you're a lamenting a lack of food in the house - it's a simple batter of eggs, flour, sugar, and butter. Now I don't want to be the type that joins in the never-ending battle of baking powder or no baking powder because lately I have other things occupying my time, but I skipped it completely in this recipe and the tiny tea cakes still had quite a bit of puff to them.
Now I really, really like lemon. Justin says he doesn't, but that doesn't keep his hand out of the cookie jar. So once these cookies are cooled, I dunk them into a tart lemon glaze, let them dry, then dunk them again. It takes a pit of patience for the glaze to set up in between each dip into the lemon pool, but for your time you'll be rewarded with a tender cake coated in a crackly citrus crust, the type that you can hear shattering under your teeth if you're very, very quiet.
Adapted from David Lebovitz
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Zest of one lemon
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
For the glaze:
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
2-3 cups powdered sugar
Brush the madeleine molds with melted butter then dust with a bit of flour. Shake off the excess flour and put the pan in the freezer while you prepare the batter.
In the bowl of a stand mixter fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs, granulated sugar and salt until the mixture is thick and frothy - about 5 minutes. Sift the flour over the mixture about 1/2 cup at a time and gently fold the flour into the egg mixture with a large rubber spatula. It may seem a bit stubborn in absorbing into the liquid, but I promise it will.
Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter and add the butter to the batter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing after each addition. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour and up to 12.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the pan from the freezer and scoop a small mound (about 2 tablespoons worth) of batter into each mold without smoothing it out - they will fill the molds as they bake. Bake for 8-9 minutes in the center of the oven, each madeleine should be lightly colored and puffed up just a bit. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for about 2 minutes before removing each one to a cooling rack.
While the cakes are baking, make your glaze. Whisk together the lemon juice and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time and whisk until it is a smooth, glossy, pourable glaze.
Once each cake is cool enough to handle, dip both sides into the glaze, shaking off any extra glaze. Allow each cake to cool on the wire rack until the glaze is set and then dip again.
Madeleines are best the day they are made, but they will keep in an airtight container for 2 days.