Friday, November 30, 2007

Chocolate-Dipped Orange Madeleines (French Cake-like Cookies)

"Madeleines" are a famous bunch of french cookies, that have spread their magic around the world. The French are known for their love of food, exquisite desserts, their romanticism, and their perfumes. They tend to be exotic in whatever they do, and so there's no doubt you'll see a similar touch in their cuisine too!! "Madeleine" is a french name for Magdalen (Mary Magdalen - The Holy Grail from the Da Vinci Code, ring any bells??) There are several legends attached to these delicious cookies with a unique shape and taste, one of them being that Madeleines come from the little French town of Commercy, whose bakers were said to have once, long ago (18th century), paid a "very large sum" for the recipe of these little cakes which became a specialty in the area. Commercy once had a convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdelen, and the nuns there supported themselves and their schools by making and selling cake-like cookies, and historians believe that when all the convents and monasteries of France were abolished during the French Revolution, they were forced to sell their recipe to the bakers. There have been several other stories, but whatever may the truth be, aren't we all glad to have been blessed with these delicious beauties that add so much sweetness to our lives?? So here's to the famous French Madeleine Cookies, and my recipe only make them better by adding a touch of orange flavor and chocolate!!

Makes 24 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
A pinch of salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp grated orange zest
2 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate - coarsely chopped
Madeleine Pans (you can buy one online here)

Heat butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat just until very light golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl with a hand blender until tripled in volume. Lower speed to medium and beat in the vanilla, orange juice and orange zest. Fold in flour mixture a little (1/3rd) at a time. Finally fold in the cooled butter. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until slightly firm.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Apply butter or non-stick cooking spray to two 12-mold madeleine pans and dust them with flour. Drop a generous spoonful or two of batter into center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the center. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and centers spring back when lightly touched.

Remove the pans from oven and tap them sharply against a countertop to release the madeleines, then leave them to cool on wire racks.

Place chocolate in small microwave-safe cup. Microwave on medium (50% power) for 1 minute or a little more, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate has almost melted. Whisk a little to make it smooth. Do NOT overheat.

Dip each madeleine into melted chocolate, coating bottom third part of the cookie. Shake off excess chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat for all the cookies and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until chocolate is set.

This is the perfect recipe for Chocolate-covered Madeleines, and beleive me, they are so great you are sure to get addicted to them. Enjoy these as simple desserts, but they are great with tea or coffee too.

Related Recipes:
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Coconut Cookies with Vanilla Icing
Nankhatai - Eggless Almond Cookies

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