The other day I poured myself a glass of Scotch. Then, I opened a small package of madeleines, that I had purchased from Trader Joe's, and proceeded to dip them into the Scotch. I know. You don't have to tell me. I'm odd with my baked goods and liquors. I also dip shortbread cookies into red wine. Say what you will, I love the flavor combinations.
Then this (below) happened.
Look at them. Will ya just look at 'em!
Sweet Mother of Pearl. What is a baked goods lovin'-Scotch drinkin' guy to do?!
I never told Baker Beth about my Scotch dipping madeleines. Until now, I haven't told anyone--because you know, it's odd. People don't need any more material. Sooooo, Baker Beth drops this little goodie in my inbox the day after the dipping incident. Browned-Butter Scotch-Glazed Madeleines. Kids, are you reading this? It's all my favorite things in one tasty package. How?
I ask you--is this oddness festering and growing OR are we ahead of the curve? You decide.
How did February get here so quickly?
February is an odd month. Oscar statues and groundhogs and presidents' birthdays and valentines and an extra day thrown in every fourth year.
Speaking of Valentine's Day, it falls on a Tuesday, which is not the most romantic day of the week. But then, Valentine's Day is overhyped anyway. Buck the trend. Celebrate another day. A weekend day. When you can spend a lazy day with the one you love. And feel not the least bit guilty about indulging in these in the middle of the afternoon.
I love madeleines. They're a bit refined yet humble at heart. A simple combination of flavors. The most exotic ingredient in most madeleine recipes is lemon zest. And while not everyone always has a lemon on hand, everyone could. So, in theory, you could always be less than an hour away from these beautiful
little shell-shaped treats.
Ah, but how to reimagine a madeleine? Well, all madeleines contain melted butter, so why not take the extra time to brown the butter, to give it more dimension? Why not indeed?
The texture of a madeleine is part of its allure. It is a little cake. It is not studded with nuts or other toothsome bits. The only thing that belongs in a madeleine is more flavor. But I didn't want to compete directly with the browned butter, so I decided to adorn the outside instead.
And I am very pleased that my brain decided to continue its "Hey, Beth, let's use booze in baked goods!" theme and conjure up the idea of a glaze ... made with Scotch.
Oh, brain. Once again you've earned your keep.
And so, my brain and I give you Browned-butter Scotch-glazed madeleines.
They're quite the grown-up treat.
Browned-butter Scotch-glazed Madeleines
(Recipe by me, essentially, though most madeleine recipes are pretty much the same.)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned*, cooled slightly
Preheat oven to 375°. Butter and flour (or spritz with PAM for Baking) a pan for large madeleines (large madeleines are about 3 inches long). Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix eggs and sugar in a large bowl just until blended. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add flour; mix just until blended. Gradually add browned butter in steady stream, and mix just until blended.
Spoon batter into indentations, filling about 3/4 full. Bake until puffed and brown, about 15 minutes. Cool a few minutes in the pan, then use the tip of a butter knife or small offset spatula to lift them from the pan and place shell-side up on wire rack set over waxed paper. Wipe out the pan, grease or spritz again, and fill with remaining batter, filling the center indentations first. While madeleines are still warm, dip the shell side into the glaze, then return to rack, glaze side up, and allow glaze to set.
Scotch glaze: Stir 1 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons Scotch together in a small bowl.
* To brown butter: Heat butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. (Don't use a non-stick skillet. The dark color of the pan will prevent you from gauging the color of the butter as it browns.) Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to heatproof measuring cup with a spout (e.g., Pyrex liquid measuring cup).