Have you heard of Proust? Would you think me lame if I admitted that until I heard of a madeleine, I’d never heard of Proust? Well, I guess that shows my priorities doesn’t it. I had to learn about the cookie first. And let me tell you, I just finally read the famous excerpt from Proust about this (and finally registered it’s significance in my favorite Pixar movie Ratatouille) this past week when I was making these Wild Orange Madeleines again for the third time in a week. To be more accurate though, I had heard some of Proust’s quotes, just not really with his name. Obviously my education must have slacked/lacked somewhere along the way (or I did). Enough about that. If you want to read it you can find the particular section here (and I rather liked reading some of it myself before my pseudo-ADHD-by-osmosis-to-my-kids kicked in and I couldn’t focus to keep reading).
C’est la Vie.
I may or may not have been subliminally preventing myself from remembering to take all the pictures I wanted to have for this post and had to make the recipe over again (and again).
Yes. They are that good. And these are probably the best madeleines I’ve had or made. While I have a serious love affair going with my recipe for Dark Chocolate Madeleines, I also love a good citrusy madeleine.
Lemon is the usual flavor for a classic madeleine, but I decided to try making these a little easier and different by using a few drops of my Wild Orange Essential Oil from doTerra.
Yes, I am a doTerra advocate and have my own little side biz… why not, right? I can buy at a discount and get to have the good stuff I love on hand for the kitchen, bath and our family’s medicine cabinet. It’s a no brainer for me.
As I mentioned above with the link to that body scrub I shared a while back, this isn’t actually the first time I’ve even posted about doTerra on here. It’s been a while in the making, but I do want to start sharing more of those recipes and ideas here as well, along with hopefully a giveaway in the near future!
I have a profound affection for that Wild Orange oil though. I use it in recipes we eat, that Vanilla Citrus Body Scrub I make at home and even love just sitting and smelling it (incidentally it works awesome as a cleaning agent for the kitchen too). I wanted to see how the flavor would come through compared to using the straight up zest from an orange and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. These madeleines are citrusy, bright and just plain happy.
You know. If a cookie could be happy, I’m pretty sure it would want to taste like sunshine in the middle of winter and look like a seashell scooped off some distant, warm sandy shore… sigh. I have to grab another cookie. See? Even Benny wants one. (Poor pup. We have a very strict no human food for the doggie policy so no cookie for him!)
Incidentally, you may be looking at this recipe and thinking that you can’t make it because (A) you don’t have any orange essential oil (I did mention I could help with that though. Just sayin’) or (B) you don’t have a madeleine pan.
Don’t let either of those issues stop you. I’ve included the extra steps you can take if you want to zest a couple of oranges yourself (I’m nice like that) and even if you don’t have a madeleine pan you could always just use a mini muffin tin (sacrilege I know! Gasp!). Let’s face it. I’ve already taken some license with the recipe. Telling you to use a different pan isn’t going to be that big a stretch.
So, if you’re like me and these seemingly never ending doldrums of winter have got you down (seriously, why do I let a groundhog get my hopes up!?) then you should start busting out the citrus. And, hey, while you’re at it, make a tea tray for you and a friend and get all poetic and fancy on this recipe. Make it a special little afternoon occasion and treat yourself to some cheering up for no reason other than you deserve it. You may find that, even if you can’t find a friend to come over, you have a little one (my boys are seriously sweet!) who would be more than happy to sit down with you and take a couple of those seashell cookies off your hands.
You know. While looking at you with big green eyes and ridiculous lashes and looking very innocent (deceptive little hurricane!)
I’m lucky enough to have a darling little antique/collectibles thrift shop called Lost & Found Thrift (it’s near us in Bountiful) with the coolest owners around who helped me put together this tea tray, along with a few of my flowers from my hubby from Valentine’s last week and my favorite cow creamer that my Mom gave to me. You never know until you try just how much a little break can be therapeutic (even if you do have to make it for yourself)!
Speaking of breaks, I seriously didn’t mean to take one for almost the entire month of February! We had a busy month around here though with some pretty awesome, scary and sweet milestones at the Hanks house. This little lady turned three years old on Valentines Day, if you can believe that (I sure can’t!).
Immediately followed by a super busy birthday / classroom party day was her annual well check where we go through a barrage of lists and tests to see where she is at with her health (which is pretty dang good right now as a matter of fact so a big HUZZAH! for that).
The very next day after that the same little lady started preschool. That meant actually, really, getting dressed for the day, with her hair done, and sneakers on. And that Mom had to leave her with new teachers and other kids (she’s the only girl though!) for a whole 2 1/2 hours.
She loved it and couldn’t have been happier. Just her Mama had a hard time. As far as I’m concerned though, that is as it should be!
Those are a lot of serious and quick milestones for this mama to take and there may have been a fair amount of angst, stress, anxiety and other feelings bopping around in my head this month that were warring with my happiness for the good things. My baby is growing up. It is a good thing (yes, I am saying that just as much or more for my benefit than yours!). It is a good thing. It is a good thing. It is a good thing.
It is also a scary thing to think that she is out of my direct supervision where I can protect her. I’ve become more and more aware that the world is not always a kind place, and especially not to those with special needs. There is a not so small part of me that wishes I could whisk her away where no one could ever hurt her… but then I would be the one doing that, so instead I am working on my warrior mama facade and game plan. More on that in the near future!
Back to the cookies! I don’t know what else to say than, just make them! However you decide to do it.
Make yourself some madeleines. They will make you feel happy. They aren’t really that difficult to make and the steps are rather soothing with results that feel a little magical.
I love kitchen chemistry! Sprinkle them with a little powdered sugar, or glaze them with a little more orange glaze and enjoy. Although they are best on the day they are made, I honestly love them a few days later too. Especially if you are going to dip them in some tea or whatever your soothing, warm beverage of choice is.
Wild Orange Madeleines
Makes about 24 to 36 madeleines depending on the pan you are using (roughly 24 large or 36 mini).
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup cane sugar* (it’s the grainy, blond sand in the ingredients picture in the post) or 2/3 cup regular white sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
6 drops doTerra Wild Orange Essential Oil or very finely grated zest from 2 oranges
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, lightly scooped
1 teaspoon baking powder (preferably aluminum free)
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (should not be hot, but still melted and liquid)
Extra butter for preparing madeleine pans/tins.
- Prepare your madeleine pan (or pans) well in advance by brushing the butter lightly but evenly into the seashell cavities, then sprinkling with flour and tapping the excess out. Store the pans in the freezer until ready for baking.
- If you are using the cane sugar, put it in the food processor and process it for about 1 minute until finer. I prefer the cane sugar so it is generally what I have on hand. If you are using the regular sugar, you can skip this step.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat together the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes on medium-high speed until thick, pale and light.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a fine mesh sieve or sifter, add the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture a little at a time gently folding it in with a rubber spatula until just combined and still fluffy (but it will start to be a thick, heavier batter).
- Add the vanilla and essential oil or zest to the melted butter and stir to combine.
- Drizzle the melted and cooled butter onto the batter and fold it in until just combined.
- Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- When you are ready to bake the madeleines use a small scoop to put a small amount (in a regular tin it ends up being about a barely rounded teaspoon and in the mini pan about half that – you’ll have to just make a batch and see how much is enough to fill, but not overfill your particular pan).
- Bake the madeleines as follows: regular size pan for 10 minutes, mini pan for about 6. They should be a little golden, set and a little springy, but not dry. For mini muffin tins start out with about 8 minutes and just watch them for the right color and spring.
- Tip the baked madeleines out to cool on a clean tea towel or paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or make the glaze below.
For the Wild Orange Glaze:
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons water or fresh orange juice
4 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil
In a small bowl whisk together 1/3 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 teaspoons water and 4 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil. Use a small brush to brush the glaze onto the warm madeleines. (If you don’t have the oil just use 2 teaspoons of fresh orange juice and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla – it won’t taste the same, but is still wonderful if a little less citrusy.)
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz