I think Madeleines have an unfair reputation of being difficult to make. Maybe it's the shape? Maybe it's assumed that because it's French, it must be finnicky? I can assure you that aside from needing 2 Madeleine baking tins (which you can bake other stuff in, like individual brownies), they really aren't hard; if you can measure flour and sugar (preferably in grams, for accuracy) and you know how to melt butter and fold in ingredients with a spatula, you can make a madeleine. I came up with this flavor variation last week, tested it on my unsuspecting guinea pigs (aka my writing class, who devoured over a dozen), and then finally cranked out 3 batches in quick succession Saturday morning for a coffee social in my apartment building. Based on the fact that 68 Madeleines disappeared (and the girl in the navy and white striped pajama onesie admitted to putting four of them in her pockets as she was leaving), I think the tart cranberry-fresh orange zest combination is a winner.
Cranberry Orange Madeleines (makes 24)
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (175g) cake flour
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder (such as Bob’s Red Mill or Rumford)
zest of 1 medium-large navel orange
9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
4.5 oz fresh cranberries
3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
3 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange juice
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the indentations of 2 madeleine molds with melted butter (don't skip this, or you might end up with madeleines stuck to the pans, and then you will be sad).
2. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
3. In the work bowl of your stand mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes with the paddle attachment until pale yellow and thickened.
4. Fold in the orange zest and flour, followed by the melted butter. Don’t overmix!
5. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter to fill it by ¾ (I used a small ice cream/cookie scoop like this one that holds about a Tbsp of dough.
6. Divide the cranberries evenly among the two pans and lightly press into each madeleine.
7. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the cakes just feel set in the middle and are browning around the edges.
8. While the cakes are baking, make the glaze in a small mixing bowl by whisking together the powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth.
9. Remove the madeleines from the oven and tilt them out onto a cooling rack. The moment they’re cool enough to handle, dip each cake’s scalloped side in the orange glaze. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.