The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.
In Remembrance of Things Past
by Marcel Proust, Proust coined the term “involuntary memory,” which is a vivid memory of past events via something sensory, like the scent or flavor of a certain food. Madeleines, those spongy cake-like cookies, were his entry into this doorway of lost memories, and thus the Madeleine has become the symbol for memories via food, a.k.a The Proustian Effect.
During this COVID-19 quarantine, I decided to make owl-shaped Chocolate Madeleines, since I don’t have a Madeleine pan and they’re about the same size. While making them I thought of how one day in the future, the next time I make or taste a Madeleine, I’ll be reminded of this dystopian, unimaginable time in history, when the world feels completely unlike its former self.
I believe baking is the perfect way to get your mind off stress during this unsettling time.
My almost 12-year old daughter enjoys baking together. I think it helps us through this stressful time.
Thus, I present these Chocolate Madeleines that I’ve infused with Earl Grey tea and vanilla–and drizzled with vanilla sour cream icing (optional).
While I like adding unique flavor combinations to my baked good, vanilla is my absolute go-to ingredient nearly every time I bake–and Nielsen-Massey is always my vanilla of choice. Loving global flavors, I appreciate how Nielsen-Massey has vanillas from around the world, which you can read about here.
You can learn a lot about the different types of vanilla on their web site.
Most vanilla comes from Madagascar, Tahiti, or Mexico, which is considered the birthplace of vanilla. For this recipe, I used Nielsen-Massey Indonesian Pure Vanilla Extract
, which nicely complements chocolate. I believe in using high-quality ingredients when I cook and bake, and Nielsen-Massey is one of the best.
Chocolate Madeleines Infused with Earl Grey Tea
First, make the Earl Grey tea so you can bring it to room temperature. Also, make the batter ahead of when you want to make it because you need to refrigerate it for at least an hour. I kept the buttered pan and the batter in the refrigerator overnight.
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Indonesian Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon of sour cream
3 tablespoons Earl Grey Tea, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of milk
To make the Madeleines
First, prepare the madeleine pans (see Kitchen Tip below).Place the prepared pans in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
Add the first 5 ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined. In a larger bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Slowly add the melted butter and stir. Refrigerate for at least an hour, overnight if possible.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add an equal amount of batter to each of the molds, pushing it into the crevices with a spoon. If using a traditional Madeleine pan, bake for 7-8 minutes. The owl molds I used were a bit deeper so I cooked for about 9 minutes. Bake until the sides pull away so you’ll watch the pan carefully. Remove from oven and cool. Once cool, remove from pan and cool for 10 minutes more before icing.
To Make the Icing
Whisk together the sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and milk adding more sugar or milk as needed. Drizzle over cooled madeleines then dust with more confectioners’ sugar.
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