Browned Butter and Coconut Madeleines

September 3, 2010


My hump… my hump, my hump, my hump… my lovely lady lumps…

If Madeleines ever got its own theme song, this would be it. But that might also mean that I’d never make these little French morsels again because I would no sooner take a drill to my cranium to avoid getting this repugnant ‘song’ stuck in my head.

Which would be a shame because Madeleine is one heck of a pretty lady with her scalloped curves, delicate taste and unique texture. I’ve always wanted to try making it and as such, I didn’t know where to start. A quick google ogle and they all say the same thing – it’s all about the hump.


I also learnt a few more things:

* the use of rising agents such as self-raising flour or baking powder is considered le travesty. The only rise this gal should get is from beating (i.e. aerating) the living daylights out of the eggs.

* the batter should really rest overnight to relax the gluten from the flour. Too much gluten from over beating the mixture will result in a tough and dense madeleine. And nobody likes a dense lady. Chilling it will apparently give us gorgeous humps.

* the batter should never be spread out in the tin. Rather it should be piped and spooned.


Check out her humps… I feel so sleazy!

After an exhaustive, intensive 5 minutes of research, I thought the recipe by David Lebovitz was the best looking plus with gram measurements to boot! I’m sorry but I always weigh my ingredients for baking and my silly Aussie/British head will never fully understand US-cup measurements. Ever.

But I digress. I was craving something nutty and toasty and these browned butter and toasted coconut madeleines fitted the bill perfectly. Next time I’ll add more coconut and a little more sugar for a touch more flavour. I know these are suppose to be delicate tasting but I always prefer things on the sweeter side.

So all in all, how do you like my humps?


Browned Butter and Coconut Madeleines

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz (The Sweet Life in Paris) with many thanks. Check out his post for more invaluable advice.

3 large eggs, at room temperature
130g caster sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
175g plain flour
125g unsalted butter
10g fine dessicated coconut – toasted over a low heat until lightly golden

Additional melted butter and flour to line the madeleine moulds. Not necessary if you use a non-stick pan like I did (mine was from Bakers Secret – available from department stores and homeware stores in Oz). Apparently they’ll darken your madeleines more than the traditional metal tins but I didn’t have any problem.


To make brown butter / beurre noisette (this is the method that works for me)

Place butter in a stainless steel pot (preferably with tall sides) over medium to low heat to melt and cook (too hot and the butter will burn). It’ll sizzle and make a lot of noise but that’s fine. That’s just the water evaporating out of the butter. Go ahead and continue with measuring other ingredients while the butter is cooking if you like.

As soon as the sizzling noise dies down, check on your butter. You’ll see it all foamy but pale. Immediately turn the heat down to low and simmer while gently stirring or swirling the pot until you see a bit of golden come through the foam (if the heat is too high, the foam might boil over). Immediately remove pot from heat and set aside.

The foam will subside and the butter will be a pale brown but the residue heat will be enough to brown it further without the risk of burning it. Your butter should be a darkish golden colour (with brown sediment on the bottom) and smelling caramelly and nutty. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and set it aside to cool to room temperature.

Brush your madeleine molds with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess and refrigerate or freeze. Not only will this make it non-stick but the frozen butter lining will help crisp up the outside of your madeleines.

In a large bowl, whisk with your electric mixer, the eggs and sugar for at least 6-8 minutes. No danger of overbeating anything so whip the crap out of them eggs. We need volume people!

Sift the flour over the egg mix and add in the toasted coconut. Fold with metal spoon or rubber spatula as lightly as possible. The less air you knock out, the better.

Add the cooled browned butter to the mixture, and again, fold as lightly and gently as you can. It’ll probably look like the butter doesn’t want to cooperate but take your time, be patient because it will incorporate eventually. Slow and steady, we need to preserve the precious volume. Fold until it’s just mixed.

Cover the bowl with clingwrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.

To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F degrees.

Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation to fill it to 3/4 of the mold (in the words of David – you’ll have to eyeball it, but don’t worry if you’re not exact.) Do not spread it. You can also pipe it in with a med-large tip in 2.5cm balls. But obviously it depends on the size of your madeleine tin. I needed around a tablespoon of mixture for the perfect size.

Bake for 8-12 minutes or until it’s lightly golden and the centre (or hump) springs back when lightly pressed.

Remove from the oven and if you’re using a non-stick pan, you should be alright to remove the madeleines out onto a cooling rack straight after. if not, you should wait 5 minutes before removing.

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