I have been reminiscing about my recent trip to a handful of Paris’ best patisseries.  To pay sort of tribute (and to sadly attempt to re-create the experience), I have short-listed a few decidedly French treats to bake.

First up, madeleines.  The recipe selected is courtesy of the magnificent Sherry Yard.  Magnificent as her ability to translate volumes of detail about the fundamentals of baking, in way an amateur can understand, speaks to her enormous skill.

I also could not resist baking a delicious buttery treat that was adorably shaped as a shell.

Sherry’s basic recipe is for a Orange Blossom Honey Madeleine.  Sherry provides a few variations for lemon, pistachio and chocolate to cater for a variety of palates and tastes.  I opted for chocolate, as I truly cannot resist this flavour in its many forms!

The recipe is quite simple.  You just need to factor in a little time for the batter to chill.  Sherry includes the addition of almond meal to add flavour and lightness to the batter.

{ Orange Blossom Honey Madeleines }

Makes about 8 dozen mini or 4 dozen standard cakes.

* Ingredients *
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
½ cup almond flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ pound unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup orange blossom honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange flower water
2 tablespoons chopped kumquats or 1tablespoon mince orange zest
4 eggs

* Directions *
1. Sift flours, baking powered and salt into bowl and set aside
2. Beat butter on high until soft.  Slowly add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Mixture should be light and fully.  Beat in honey, vanilla, orange flower water and kumquats or orange zest.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the flour mixture to the batter in thirds until just incorporated.  Cover the batter and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).  Brush moulds with butter and dust with flour.
5. Spoon batter into the pan, filling each about three-quarters full.  Bake for 10 minutes for mini or 15 minutes for standard size, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
6. Best served warm from the oven but can be stored airtight for 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

{ Chocolate variation… }
Replace ¼ cup of cake flour with ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder.