It's a cake, it's a cookie, it's a Madeleine. These are little sugar sprinkled spongy hump-back Nutella-flavored bites of heaven - that's what they are in a nut-shell shape. This is my September offering in the Nutella Challenge that the always adorable Bell'Alimento began a while back. I love developing recipes more than repeating them. So, this idea of sharing something new each month that has such a sweet and addictive ingredient like Nutella is a dream come true for me. In the past, I have made Madeleines with coconut, tea, chocolate, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, etc. and they can be a wonderful afternoon treat, or a nice light dessert to follow up a heavy meal.
The savory Madeleines can also be a sneaky way to get healthy stuff into a kid's lunch box.
The traditional Madeleine is a french tea cake and there are several theories about it's origin. One story is about a Le Cordon Bleu Chef named, Madeleine, who created the light little cake for her very rich employer in the 19th Century. Another story is about a Duke visiting a small village in the 1700's and having a delightful little sponge cake cooked by a peasant girl named, Madeleine. Evidently, he could not forget the "cake" so had his sister or cooks repeat the recipe and savored the sweet Madeleine many more times. Hmmmm. That one sounds like a movie waiting to be cast, don't you think? What-ever the origin, Madeleines are usually made with flour, butter (very often melted or even browned), eggs and sugar. If the traditional hump is desired - baking powder is also used. They are at their best when served as freshly made as possible, but can be held for a few days and on occasion I have even frozen them and re-toasted them to serve with ice cream. However; I would caution not to judge a Madeleine by the cellophane wrapped, dry, tasteless ones you may find sold at the counter of coffee shops. IMO.
Because of Nutella's consistency and luscious fat content, I adjusted my recipe a little to incorporate the Nutella and yet keep the lightness of a Madeleine tea-cake. The Nutella flavor is subtle (incorporate more, if you like) and the orange zest really accents the "chocolate/hazelnuttiness" while also helping keep the moisture inside.
Petite Madeleines au Nutella
3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder
8 TBLs Sugar
4 TBLs Butter (melted, then cooled)
1 TBL. Orange zest
1//4 cup Nutella
Butter and Flour a Madeleine Pan (if using metal), not needed for a silicone or non-stick.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over gentle heat, add the nutella to the pan and whisk together.
In a bowl, sift together the Flour, Salt, and Baking Powder and hold.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar til light and frothy. Add the Orange zest, and the Flour mixture and whisk til incorporated.
Add the butter/nutella mixture and whisk all together just til mixed.
Drop spoonfuls of batter into each mold, filling 3/4 up. Chill for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 400 F., and bake for 10-12 minutes (can vary depending on your molds). Before serving, sprinkle top of Madeleines with powdered sugar.
I was tempted to split a few of these and sandwich them with more Nutella. Let me know if you're Nutella enough to try it. Enjoy! And to see the many incredible recipe ideas with Nutella, check out these amazing sites: Nutella Blog Roll.