Without having a specific motivation, I'm not sure when I would have bothered to make Madeleines (p. 739). They were one of the three recipes that were voted for me to make by readers (Madeleines, vanilla coconut shrimp, which I haven't made yet, and chicken pot pie).
Madeleines are strange. First off, they look like cookies but are actually tiny cakes. Secondly, they require a special pan that I'm guessing very few people own. Third, they are always sold in coffee shops, but, because I don't drink coffee, I'd never bought one before. I assumed they were hard like biscotti.
I swore these cakes were cursed. I misread the recipe, following an order that I thought was logical, but wasn't actually what the recipe said, so I had to throw out the first batch of batter. Then, as I was pushing the mixer blades in to the mixer, I somehow managed to turn it on. It sucked my hand in, badly bruising it. In fact, I couldn't get my hand out of the mixer for a few minutes, it was that thoroughly caught. But I persevered and started again.
I beat butter with a spatula until it was about the consistency of mayonnaise (something I thought was a strange direction):
In another bowl, I beat eggs, an extra egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla until the batter was light yellow. In yet another bowl, I sifted together sifted cake flour, baking powder, and salt, and returned it to the sifter. I sifted the flour mixture into the egg mixture and folded them together. I then folded a dollop of the egg mixture into the butte, eventually scraping that back in to the egg mixture (got that? It was very confusing, which is why the first batch got thrown out).
I buttered my molds well (they aren't kidding--butter the heck out of the molds) and poured the batter in so the molds were about three-quarters full:
They were baked:
My pretty Madeleines:
These were extremely good. Again, they aren't cookies, which I think can throw people off, but are little buttery unfrosted cakes. Personally, I think they look expensive. When I own a coffee shop/restaurant/something food related, I will sell them for 2/$3 or something because they look difficult to make. And frankly, although they are fairly simple, they do require buying a special pan, which is more than most people are willing to do. But if you have a Madeleine pan sitting around, gathering dust, or you see one at a garage sale, buy it! They were popular with everyone I gave them to.