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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Honey-Spiced Madeleines - French Fridays with Dorie

Were it not for Proust, would anyone still eat Madeleines. They're pretty, yes, but even Proust couldn't eat them without dunking them into tea.
According to Patricia Wells, "The best, freshest madeleine has a dry, almost dusty taste when eaten on its own." But is that really a recommendation?

In fact, these cookie/cakes are absolutely delicious when they're fresh out of the oven. The crust is slightly crispy and buttery, and they're redolent of the best Vietnamese cinnamon.

Just enough of the honey-sugar combination to be sweet, but not too sweet. By the way, two tablespoons of honey equals 42 grams. It's so much easier to pour 42 grams into the bowl you're already using than to laboriously measure out 2 tablespoons, wondering how much of the honey is going to stick to the measuring spoon. Much as I like this cookbook, I'm constantly surprised that Dorie doesn't use weights as an alternative to volume measurements.

I'll have to admit that I didn't notice the "Be Prepared" warning (must be refrigerated for three hours for baking) until I was ready to mix up the batter. Oh well. That just moved the madeleines from Plan A (afternoon tea) to Plan B (dessert).

I've had these madeleine pans for about 20 years. All in all, I think I've made three batches of madeleines: regular, chocolate, and, now, honey-spice. While they were great when still warm, within about three hours, they were a combination of soggy and dry. They definitely needed a tea-dip. But perhaps that just shows that they're authentic Proustian madeleines. "Dry and dusty." Yum.


  1. Dry and dusty sounds like an accurate description of what's sitting in my tin now, two days later. These did not bowl me over. They were too orangey for my tastes.

  2. Mine didn't have any time to become dry and dusty, as my boys devoured them almost instantly! Love the honey pouring photo.

  3. I also wonder why Dorie didn't put in any sort of weight measurements! Well even if your madeleines ended up dry and dusty, they still look nice and golden.

  4. Tip for sticky honey on spoons: give the spoon (or measuring cup) a light spritz with non-stick spray before measuring the honey.

  5. I had to write my homage to Proust as well as I can't think of them without him. What is so wrong with dunking if you need to? I say nothing.

  6. I love it when my cookbooks list both volume and weight measurements and wish Dorie listed both as well. Some ingredients are just so much easier to weigh and I agree that honey is up there at the top.

    These little cakes were certainly tasty to dip in a cup of tea, but I don't see myself making them again.

  7. My madeleine pan has languished in my kitchen for OVER 20 years, and this was the first time I used it. Glad I'm not alone in keeping unused kitchen equipment around. I enjoyed these with tea also. Hopefully our pans will get more use in the next 20 years! My honey always seems to crystallize so I end up microwaving or heating, which has the side benefit of making it easy to pour and doesn't seem to stick to the spoon...

  8. I haven't even given mine a chance to become dry and dusty! I also did not chill the dough for the whole time before putting them in the oven.

  9. These are definitely not a list minute recipe!! I also have the barely used pan, but my kids ate these up pretty quickly. Now I'm wondering if I could make madeleine shaped muffins just to get more use out of the pan!

  10. Your madeleines look lovely...I made the classic version and will make the honey-spiced closer to the holidays. I always spray my measuring spoon with pam before I pour any kind of sticky liquid into it. Works great!

  11. Ei,
    I didn't taste too much orange--but maybe I didn't use enough rind.

    Nice to have devouring boys around! My husband took half of them with him on a trip to Dallas and said he was glad to have them.

    What's weird is that they're apparently supposed to be "dry and dusty"!

    Good tip! (But weighing is easier)


    I haven't decided yet whether they'll be a repeat. They look charming, but I'm not at all sure that anyone would ask for the recipe.

  12. Betsy,
    I love the idea that so many of us at some point in our lives decided that we MUST have a madeleine pan, and then fail to use it for decades. I suppose I should remember that when I put a kugelhopf pan on my wish list.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the three-hour rest in the refrigerator doesn't make a major change in the outcome of the madeleines.

    Madeleine-shaped muffins = great idea! Wonder if they'd be dryer than usual?

    Thanks. These would probably be a good addition to a holiday cookie plate (especially the mini-versions).

  13. Ir makes me a wee-bit sad when success is measured in terms of dry & dusty. I am glad I didn't have to find out with these...

  14. For some things throughout the recipes we have cooked through, I have wondered about weight measurements! Although I have never met a dry or dusty Madeleine, even the next day! ... I store mine in a ziploc baggie in the fridge though... and I dont always or even mostly dip them in tea or any other beverage.

  15. I didn't mind them once they'd cooled, but I made mine in a mini-muffin tin. I agree this little cake would make a good addition to a holiday cookie plate.

  16. They were fun to make at least! Like you, I had a pan, but I'd never used it - a good excuse. Seeing someone else's comment - now some little cornbread muffins in these pans...

  17. I also missed the three hour setting time, and mine became breakfast the next day. I loved them fresh out of the oven - and they are definitely dunking cookies! How is the Vietnamese Cinnamon different?

  18. Cher,
    Well, when you put it like that....

    I think you must have the secret of storing madeleines so they avoid the "dry and dusty" fate.

    I love the idea of corn muffins in the madeleine pans!

    "I didn't mind them" isn't really a rousing endorsement! I think there was less enthusiasm about these than is usual in the posts.

    Here's what King Arthur says about Vietnamese cinnamon:
    "Considered by many to be the world's finest cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon (a.k.a. Saigon cinnamon) is ground from dried, cultivated bark of cinnamon cassia grown in Vietnam.
    It's sweeter, more aromatic, and more powerful than the Indonesian cinnamon commonly sold in supermarkets.
    The flavor of this cassia cinnamon just pops, too – tasting Vietnamese cinnamon next to supermarket cinnamon is like enjoying a cup of rich espresso, compared to downing a cup of watery coffee from a highway vending machine."
    Maybe that's why my honey-spice madeleines tasted like cinnamon madeleines to me.
    I love breakfast cakes!