Friday, November 03, 2017

Flashback Friday - Madeleines and Remembrance

flashback friday graphic
This post originally appeared on on May 17, 2011.

We tried madeleines for the first time in Paris in the mid-70s. My mother fell in love with the rather plain, buttery, cakes instantly. Back in Baltimore, where the most exotic cake around was a butterscotch Krimpet, madeleines remained a memory. That is, until I bought a madeleine pan and made them at home.

Somehow they didn't taste the same, but I think Mom mostly loved their shape and size.

I made a double batch for her on what proved to be her last Christmas, and she insisted on feeding them to my parakeet, Cuervo, rather than eating them herself. Without me in the house to remind her to eat them, they got stale and eventually had to be thrown away. It still saddens me that she did not enjoy them all.

I use the madeleine pan now more for cornbread than anything. But recently I was looking through my copy of Martha Stewart's Cookies for simple recipes that I might alter with a dose of one of the two non-sugar sweeteners I have for baking experimentation. Madeleines use relatively small amounts of butter and flour, both of which were in short supply, so they became the cookie of choice.

While I used Xylitol in a hot fudge sauce recipe last week, this time I decided to try Erythritol. Like Xylitol, it's is a sugar alcohol, in this case actually made from sugar; however it's only 70% as sweet as sugar. It has only 0.2 calories per gram, and a glycemic score of 0, making it safe for diabetics.

I thought they turned out great - light, cakey, lightly-sweet, with a nice orange-y flavor. I used a non-stick pan and a lot of release spray, but still they stuck a bit. Not sure if that was a result of the sweetener, or maybe of the bumps of pecans.

Erythritol apparently caused baked goods to become hard if they're exposed to air for long periods of time, so make sure to store your madeleines in an air-tight container as soon as they're cool.

Pecan Orange Madeleines (adapted from Martha Stewart)

4 1/2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup Erythritol (or 1/4 cup sugar)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 325F.

Brush the molds of a madeleine pan with butter (I like using the wrapper) or spray well with release spray.

In a microwavable bowl, melt butter on high for 1 minute. Stir in honey and vanilla and set aside until cool.

Place flour, baking powder and Erythritol or sugar in a large bowl. Stir in eggs and butter mixture until well combined, then add pecans and orange rind. Spoon batter into prepared molds, about halfway, and smooth with the back of a spoon (batter is stiff).

Bake until bottoms of cookies are golden and tops are springy, about 8-9 minutes. Remove pan to a wire rack, and after cooling for a few minutes, remove cookies from pan onto another rack. Allow to cool completely.

Store in a covered container. Makes 2 dozen.

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