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Lemon-Almond Madeleines

From Simple French Desserts

2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or lemon extract
1/2 cup slivered, blanched almonds
1 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned (see note)

Using a large wire whisk, gently beat the eggs, egg whites, granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla or lemon extract together in a large bowl just until combined.

Combine the almonds and confectioners' sugar in a food processor and grind until fine and powdery. Sift together the flour and salt and fold into the batter with the almond mixture.

Gently stir the browned butter into the batter. The batter will be fairly thin. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours. After chilling, the batter will be thick and firm.


Place an oven rack on the middle shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray the molds of a madeleine pan (preferably a traditional metal one for distinctive pleats) with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray.

Fill each shell mold with 1 tablespoon of batter. Place the madeleine pan on a baking sheet and bake the madeleines for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are firm, the edges are golden brown and they develop a small hump in the center.

Remove the madeleines from the pan, popping them out of their molds with the tip of a paring knife. Let cool on a wire rack. Wipe any stray crumbs from the madeleine pan with a paper towel, spray again with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray and repeat to bake the remaining batter. Madeleines are at their best eaten the day they are baked, but they can be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 1 week.

Yields about 24 madeleines.

When butter is melted and cooked until it begins to turn brown, it develops a sweet, slightly nutty flavor as the milk solids in the butter start to caramelize. To prepare it, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Increase heat and bring the butter to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the solids at the bottom of the pan begin to brown. As the milk solids begin to caramelize, the butter will develop the sweet, slightly nutty aroma of beurre noisette; this should take about 5 minutes. Immediately strain the butter into a heatproof bowl to cool and prevent the butter from browning any further in the hot pan. Let cool completely.



(Updated: 10/27/08 SN)

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