Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Madeleines are such wonderful cookies. Even simple store-bought ones I find are brilliantly soft, sweet, delicate, dainty, and perfect with tea in particular.
It’s hard to believe just how much butter goes into them when they’re so fluffy and light, but they’re doubtless horrible calorie pigs I’m sure, a deadly combination of sugar and butter that generously allows a fragment of flour to infiltrate them. However that may be, they’re well worth it to eat, especially with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
There are so many different variations that are possible. I’ve made madeleines flavored with orange, coffee, chocolate, strawberry, and even red bean paste.
Recently, I've been cooking a lot with fig. I think fig is an unjustly maligned flavor, with a vague perception of being childish—perhaps because of its association with fig newtons, a children's snack. However, fig really has a fascinatingly strong, deep flavor, fruity, like dates crossed with ... perhaps grapes? And in fig preserves, this flavor just becomes yet deeper, richer, stronger. Already it’s brought me an excellent fig-rubbed pork tenderloin recipe.
Fig preserves, cinnamon, and some hints of cardamom make for a great madeleine cookie—sweet but not overly so and aromatic. The dark rich flavors of the fig are complemented by the high notes of the cinnamon and cardamom.
This recipe is almost ridiculously simple to make: just melt some butter, beat some ingredients, combine the two, pour into pans, bake, and voila! Simple, easy, and quick. And in exchange you get these wonderful French butter cookies, with a unique taste that combines much of the original genius of the madeleine with wondrous fruit and spice flavors.
This recipe is entirely my own.
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamon
- 2/3 cup fig preserves
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over the stove on medium heat.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, the fig preserves, and the vanilla extract until they are thick and runny. Then fold in the flour, 1/2 of it at a time, as well as the salt, the cardamom, the cinnamon, and the sugar, and mix until smooth.
- Stir part of the melted butter into the batter, then wait a minute, and stir the rest in. It should have a thick, glossy, and shiny appearance.
- Grease two madeleine pans. Drop a spoonful of batter into each madeleine slot until all the batter is used up. Allow to rest a few minutes.
- Place them into an oven preheated to an oven preheated to 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- Let cool slightly, then remove from the molds and dust with powdered sugar. They can be served hot or cold, and are particularly good with tea or coffee.