Goodbye January, with all your demands of healthy behavior and resolution-keeping…hello February, month of little love notes, feminine frills and lots of chocolate! Hope y’all enjoyed our Embracing Your Best Self series, and that it challenged you to start a journey to becoming the happiest, healthiest, most creative self you can be. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be moving into something a little more lighthearted and a lot sweeter as Valentine’s Day approaches. We’re kicking things off with these chocolate-dipped cherry madeleines, dreamed up by my San Fran friend and “next door baker,” Shauna Sever. This recipe perfectly reflects Shauna’s ethos of beautiful, extra-special baked goods that are totally accessible for the less-then-gifted bakers among us. And she even showed us how to perfectly package them up for giving away this Valentine’s. Can’t wait to make them! Take it away, Shauna!
These simple little cookies are actually mini versions of a traditional genoise cake, which is based on a fluffy foam of eggs and sugar, and requires a gentle folding method in order to keep the batter light and airy. Butter is also a star here, but the key is to lighten the melted butter with a dollop of batter before folding it back into the mix, which keeps the egg foam from deflating when the butter is added.
Chocolate-dipped Cherry Madeleines
For the cherry madeleines:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus a bit extra for buttering the pan
- 1/3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries, patted dry (about a 6-ounce jar, drained)
For finishing the madeleines:
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70% cacao), chopped (chocolate chips work fine)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 425°F. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each well of a madeleine pan with melted butter, being sure to get into all the little ridges. Dust the pan with cocoa powder and tap out the excess.
- Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla bean paste or extract on high speed until very fluffy, pale in color, and almost tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
- In three batches, gently sift the dry ingredients over the egg mixture and fold gently to blend well. Pour the melted butter into the bowl that housed the dry ingredients. Scoop about a quarter of the batter into the melted butter, and whisk until smooth. Slowly pour the buttered batter in a spiral pattern into the mixer bowl with the original batter (the idea is to keep the batter light and avoid deflating it by scraping the heavier buttered batter in all at once). Fold gently until the batter is well blended, and no oily streaks of butter remain. Fold in the cherry bits. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Load the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (or a large ziptop bag with a corner snipped off—make sure the snipped hole is large enough for the bits of cherry to pass through!). Fill the wells of the madeleine tin about three-quarters full. Bake until the tops of the madeleines spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick just comes out clean, 7 to 8 minutes. Immediately turn the madeleines out onto a wire rack to cool completely, using a small, thin spatula or knife to help loosen them if need be. Let the tin cool before re-buttering and flouring the tin, and refilling the wells with the remaining batter.
- In a heatproof bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and heavy cream. Melt them together over a double boiler or in the microwave with 30 second bursts of high power, stirring well after each interval, until the ganache is smooth. Stir often over a 10 to 15 minute period to help thicken the ganache–enough so that it’s cool, but can still be spooned over the madeleines. Immediately decorate with sprinkles or other decors while the ganache is still soft. Let the ganache set a bit at room temperature before serving, about 1 hour.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Shauna! And if you haven’t already, be sure to scoop up Shauna’s latest drool-inducing cookbook, Pure Vanilla.