When it comes to ending a meal the right way, I’m a big fan of a cookie/cocktail pairing. This concept was introduced to me when I came across Gabrielle Hamilton’s recipe for sesame cookies and ice cold milk punch. This combination, somehow exotic yet humble and cozy at the same time, was nothing short of a revelation to me. I obsessed over it for months.
We threw a wedding party for some of our very dear friends recently. Our table was overflowing with cake, cheese dip, deviled eggs, and all sorts of retro canapés (it was a Playboy theme party!). We set out two very strong bowls of whiskey punch. Somehow, we managed to polish off all of this food somewhere around the 2 hour mark of the party. The punch was flowing, some of our guests were swaying, and we needed snack reinforcements stat. Jeff, always the man of the hour, fired up the panini press and pastrami sandwiches were passed around. I too had prepared for this moment, and had a gigantic bowl full of madeleine dough waiting in the fridge. I hurriedly spooned the dough into madeleine pans and within 15 minutes had a gigantic plate of fresh, hot-from-the-oven madeleines ready for the grabbing. They were gone almost instantly. My memory of that night, truth be told, remains a little hazy but I will always remember how good those warm madeleines were with a cup of punch in the company of our friends.
Since then we make madeleines pretty regularly in our house. They are great with a cocktail at night, easy to prepare ahead when you have guests over, and they’re our favorite thing to have with coffee on Sunday morning. I’ve played around with a few recipes, but I always come back to a recipe for brown butter and orange madeleines that yield the elusive “madeleine hump” for me every time. Browning the butter is a tiny extra step that makes all the difference in these madeleines. The delicious flecks of burnt butter throughout the dough make these truly unreal. In honor of the whiskey punch served the night of our party, we have paired this with a delicious twist on a Boulevardier. I highly recommend making them if you make these madeleines.
(Although these are great on their own. We served ours dipped in a chocolate ganache. A nice simple sugar glaze would work great too!)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for madeleine pans
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
Zest of 1 orange
Place butter in sauce pan over medium heat, cooking until the butter smells nutty and takes on the color of strong brewed tea. Don’t let it burn! Add the tablespoon of honey, stir and set aside.
Cream the sugar and eggs together in a mixing bowl with an electric whisk at high speed until doubled in volume, set aside.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, vanilla bean, orange zest and salt. Set aside.
Melt a pat of butter and brush your madeleine molds generously. Put in the refrigerator to chill.
Add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine.
Drizzle the honey/butter mixture into the batter, stirring until combined. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour, up to one day.
When ready to bake madeleines, preheat oven to 400 degrees. In your buttered madeleine pan, drop batter with a teaspoon until molds are 2/3 full. Careful not to overfill, otherwise the wonderful madeleine hump won’t develop!
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 30 seconds before tipping onto cooling rack.