I’m so excited to share a fun experience we had over the weekend that inspired today’s new recipe! This year for my big girl’s birthday, we decided to gift her “experiences” instead of things. So, after doing some research, I wrapped up two little homemade certificates for her that revealed she would be going on a museum date with daddy and to a French pastry cooking class with mommy. Since we have two girls close in age with similar interests, it’s hard sometimes to get one-on-one time with each of them (I can’t exactly be like, “I’m only taking one of you to get a pedicure with me.” – Ha!). So we were all really looking forward to these special outings together.
Our French patisserie cooking class finally arrived on Saturday, and here she is just before it got started. She was so excited she was literally skipping down the hallway to get there!
In this hands-on class we learned how to make chocolate eclairs, French macarons, Charlotte Russe (cake), and, you guessed it – madeleines! It was super fun and gave us the confidence that we could go home and tackle these projects on our own. Since they’re all sugary treats, they, of course, don’t follow our real food rules, but when we do occasionally indulge in something sweet, we do feel homemade is the best way to go!
Now I’m honestly not sure if I’d ever had a madeleine before this class, and, oh my, they sure are tasty and super easy to make. They’re basically miniature lemon flavored cakes that aren’t too overly sweet and (if I’m being honest) are borderline addicting. So we stopped at the kitchen store on the way home and bought ourselves a madeleine pan to add to our collection. These would be the perfect treats for a little tea party or brunch with friends (Easter maybe?), in case you’re looking for an excuse to try making them!
So a few hours after we got home from the class, I started thinking, “Hmmm, I’d love to go ahead and try making those madeleines again with whole-wheat pastry flour this time (my new obsession) instead of the all purpose white flour we used in class.” Then seriously five seconds later, my daughter comes running in from playing outside and said, “Mom, I’m gonna make some of those madeleines with our new pan now!” And I said, “How funny, I was just about to make them myself!” So we put forth some serious teamwork by dividing up the same jobs we each did in our class and had a batch in the oven in a matter of minutes.
I think this might be a dangerous new recipe to have on hand because they are so good and so easy! We shared some with a good friend, and she couldn’t believe they’d been made with whole-wheat flour because they were so light and tasty. Let me tell you what – that whole-wheat pastry flour is good stuff!
We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do, but before you get started, here are a few more pics from our French patisserie cooking class! (And yes, those chocolate eclairs tasted as good as they look. One day when we’re feeling especially adventurous, we’ll have to try those again at home too.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter and flour a madeleine pan.
Melt the butter in a small pot over low heat until there are a few small pieces left. Take it off the heat and set aside. The butter should be melted but slightly cooled by the time you add it to the batter.
Use an electric mixer fitted with a paddle to beat the eggs and sugar together just until combined. Beat in the vanilla, lemon zest (a microplane is the best tool for extracting zest), and salt, and then add the cup of pastry flour little by little just until blended together. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.
Turn the mixer back on and in a steady stream, gradually pour in the (melted, but slightly cooled) butter just until blended.
Spoon exactly 1 tablespoon of batter into each madeleine mold. Bake until puffed and a light golden brown around the edges (and on the bottom), about 10 - 15 minutes. Gently remove each one from pan, garnish with powdered sugar if desired, and serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.