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Almond and honey madeleines

(post, Marjorie Taylor)

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I made off like a bandit this last Saturday at my little market.  It's the time of year when the market vendors are showing off the beauties of the season including the first cherries, the sweetest little strawberries, fava beans, fresh garlic, asparagus and spring morels.  It's also bustling with an international crowd, wandering around in amazement, taking photos of the picturesque outdoor market.

The other great thing about this time of year is the abundance of flea markets or brocantes. Every Saturday after I have filled my market basket with the season's best offerings, I wander through Place Carnot searching for a little treasure to take home.  The vendors have come to know me and realize that I am an easy target for vintage kitchen items.  I was so lucky this week to find a vintage madeleine pan as I've had my eye out for one for a very long time.

Madeleines seem very fancy and oh so French and they couldn't be easier to make. I added finely chopped almonds to this batch to compliment the cherries from the market, but a little lemon or orange zest is always a nice addition. They are a lovely afternoon treat, just tiny little cakes that are perfect with an afternoon cup of tea - that is, if you can wait long enough for the water to boil.  

almond and honey madeleines

90 grams unsalted butter, plus 15 grams melted butter for greasing the madeleine pan
2 teaspoons honey
2  medium eggs
75 grams sugar
10 grams light brown sugar
a pinch of salt
90 grams all-purpose flour, preferably organic
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a handful of almonds, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brush the molds with the melted butter.  Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl.

Melt the 90 grams of butter and honey in a small saucepan, being careful not to get it too hot.  In a mixing bowl, place the eggs, both of the sugars and the salt. Whisk until pale and nearly tripled in volume, the batter should fall in ribbons. Sift the flour and baking powder mixture into the batter and add the almonds; fold gently.  Carefully pour in the cooled melted butter and honey mixture down the side of the bowl, and gently mix.  Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Spoon the batter into the molds.  It will spread during baking so fill each mold about 2/3 full.  Bake for 5 - 10 minutes depending on the size of your madeleine mold.  Turn out the madeleines and cool on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with a handful of the season's first cherries and a cup of strong tea.

Makes about 20 regular madeleines