When I was in culinary school, the baking course was my least favorite class. My instructor was a wonderful teacher and incredibly talented, but the pace was very slow and I wasn’t much of dessert fan then. That quickly changed after I had my first child. I developed an insatiable sweet tooth and was craving pastries all the time. Not just any pastries, mind you, but the expensive kind from French Patisseries: macarons, croissant aux amandes, and financiers. The common ingredient in all these pastries is almond flour. As I have mentioned in my previous posts, I love almond-flavored desserts. Today, I share a madeleine recipe with all the flavors of a financier – brown butter almond cakes.
These little mini cakes in madeleine molds are light and airy with crispy edges from the egg whites. They are also nutty from the ground almonds and the brown butter, and the cocoa powder takes it up another notch. Essentially, these are financiers in fancy molds. These little cakes will not have the traditional Madeleine hump so they will be done when the top is no longer shiny. If you don’t have madeleine pans, you can bake these in mini muffin tins. The texture will be a little denser, but still just as delicious. Enjoy!
Chocolate Almond Madeleines
Yield: 36 little cakes
1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup of ground almonds
2 tablespoons of Dutch processed cocoa powder (preferably Valrhona)
1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of flaky sea salt
2/3 cup of egg whites at room temperature, (about 4 large egg whites)
¾ cup of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting, optional
Madeleine molds or mini muffin tins
1. Add butter to a small sauce pan and cook at medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to keep a watchful eye until you see small brown specks on the bottom of the pan. It will have a nice nutty aroma. Once you hit this point, you want to remove the pan off the burner and transfer to a bowl to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
2. Sift the flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a seive over a medium bowl to remove any lumps from the ground almonds and cocoa powder. Whisk and set aside.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until frothy.
4. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until just combined.
5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until just combined.
6. Take the brown butter and pour it in the batter, folding gently until just combined.
7. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the madeleine molds with the baking spray.
9. Taking a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop, measure out each portion. You can also use a piping bag if you prefer.
10. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the individual cakes are cooked through.
11. Cool for 5 minutes. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with coffee or tea. These are best eaten the same day, but you can store any leftovers in a air tight container for up to 3 days.