Madeleines are very small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell shape. These delightful mini cakes are immortalized by Marcel Proust in his novel Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 1: Swann’s Way. Though I have not read the book, the renown Madeleine episode has been well quoted and his description of these scalloped cakes dipped in tea is enough to make me want to try them.
To make Madeleines, a special pan with shell-like indentations is needed. These pans can be found in specialty kitchen stores and come in two sizes – regular and minis. I have both sizes as the first time I wanted to get them, it so happened our city paper had an article on these little cakes and all the kitchen stores ran out of the regular sized ones. The stores ordered more pans and I eventually got mine after the “madness” wore off. I also found silicone ones which I have yet to try out.
I decided to go gluten-free this time so that everyone in the family can enjoy them. I searched on the web and found Luane’s Cookies Gluten-Free Chocolate Madeleines which I adapted and flavored with that huge bottle of orange blossom water sitting in my pantry. Although I filled the indentations about two thirds full, they did not totally fill out after baking. Still I thought they were just fine and very pretty. If you prefer larger pieces, you should fill it all the way but you will likely end up with only 18 to 20 small cakes.
These Madeleines are truly delightful! They are light, airy, and mildly sweetened. My only complaint is that they disappeared far too quickly. I highly recommend dusting them with powdered sugar.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)