This month's cookie is as lovely
as the photo that inspired it.
Can't you see a plate of cookies in the inspiration photo?
Right next to the chair?
Any further words I try to use will not do
it's (the cookie's) natural beauty justice.
Enjoy, cookie lovers. Enjoy! -angelo
FROM BAKER BETH:
I find it so evocative, so captivating. As such, I have stared at it for a long time. And wondered what kind of cookie would be served in this room. (Apparently, it is a room in a home in France.)
I decided that it would be a simple cookie, soft and cake-like, because in my mind, this home is near the sea and there would be a dampness about everything from the sea air. And I decided that the flavor would be somewhat earthy, not too sweet. Blackberries, I decided. And madeleines, to be cake-like and French.
Blackberry madeleines. The berry flavor is subtle, almost not berry-like at all, but pronounced enough to make you ponder it.
Also, madeleines are terribly easy to make. They are a fine treat on a grey day.
With tea. Or Champagne. Or wine.
(Adapted from A Baker's Tour by Nick Malgieri, Published by Harper Collins, 2005)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs by hand. Whisk in the sugar in a steady stream. Whisk in the vanilla. Place the bowl on the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip the mixture on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup blackberry preserves and continue whipping until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the flour mixture. After the flour has been absorbed, fold in the butter. (Beth Note: At this point, you can either chill the batter to bake later if you like madeleines to have their characteristic humps on their undersides or you can proceed and bake them immediately if flat madeleines are what you prefer. Or if you're impatient.) When you are ready to bake the madeleines, set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Grease a madeleine pan (I use a pan with 12 cavities, each about 3 inches tall) with melted butter, using a pastry brush to ensure good coverage in all of the crevices. (Beth Note: Most madeleine recipes instruct you to flour the pan as well. I skipped that step here because I didn't want white flour on my finished, darker madeleines.) Use a spoon to fill each of the cavities in the pan almost completely. Bake the madeleines until they are golden and feel firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and, with a heatproof rubber spatula, approach each madeleine from the side and then scoop around to release it from the pan. Don't worry about ruining their shapes. They'll bounce back. Allow them to cool, shell-side up. They're best if enjoyed the same day.
Yield: About 18 madeleines