We get a week or two of hot weather here in the Pacific NW, usually in August, but this year it’s starting early and we have been in the 90’s for the past four days. Ugh, way too hot to do much baking, but I did get up early yesterday and baked a batch of Ina Garten’s coconut madeleines. I like almost anything coconut and have a love affair with madeleines that I give in to way too often. They are easy to make, rich and dense like poundcake, and are the perfect treat for picnics and cookouts. You can’t beat homemade cookies and fresh fruit for a great summer snack or dessert.
I’m not a big fan of kitchen gadgets and pans that have a single purpose. I’m trying to scale back and get rid of things I use maybe once a year. I don’t need a dozen different cupcake pans or half a dozen bundt cake pans in varying shapes and sizes. As I get older there is something comforting about looking into an organized cupboard and not having to take out stacks of this and that to get to the loaf pan that has worked its way to the back. My one exception to my multi-use rule is my madeleine pans. I know the divine little buttery cakes wouldn’t taste the same if they were made in any other shape. The pan is a must. They are easy to find in any cookware shop in both a nonstick metal and silicone. They are so worth the investment and once you see how easy to make these little cakes are and how delicious they taste you will wonder how you every got along with the pans.
Madeleines are best the day they are baked and tend to dry out fairly quickly. I like to add a powdered sugar glaze that seals one side and goes a long way to keep them soft and fresh for several days. The dough isn’t very sweet so the glaze adds a nice texture to the little cakes, especially when its flavored with something like coconut extract. Despite the nonstick surface of my metal pans I generously brush them with melted butter to ensure that they don’t stick.
There are endless variations of madeleines and several of my favorites are buckwheat browned butter (from David Lebovitz’s brilliant book, Ready for Dessert, and vanilla bean madeleines from my Mom’s recipe files.
I’m not a big hot weather person…thank heavens we don’t have many days like this…so early morning is my favorite time of day. I love having my first cup of coffee on the deck where I can hear birds tuning up for the day and listen to two resident owls “whooing” to each other. This is when I like to indulge in homemade cookies.
- 1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter, to grease the pans
- 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup sweetened, shredded coconut, coarsely chopped
- 1-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- Several drops coconut flavoring
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Thoroughly butter and flour the madeleine pans.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light yellow and fluffy. Add ¼ pound of melted butter and mix. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, and stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Stir in the coconut.
- With a soup spoon, drop the batter into the pans, filling each shell almost full. Bake the madeleines for 10 to 12 minutes, until they spring back when pressed and are light golden brown. . Tap the madeleines out onto parchment paper and allow to cool.
- Add water to confectioners sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it has a pourable consistency. Mix in the coconut flavoring. Place madeleines on a wire rack and spoon the glaze over them, allowing excess to drip off. Let dry for 2 hours or until glaze has set.