Have you ever thought about learning another language?
I think about it all the time — especially when I translate recipes from other languages.
One of the weirdest things about traveling around Europe was not being able to effectively communicate with local people in a local language — I definitely felt more than a little ignorant (and inconsiderate) at times.
Especially at hostels, when I’d inevitably get something like: “But… you’re Canadian — don’t you speak French?”
Well, actually, no.
Vancouver is kind of a weird place, see — a lot of people I know (myself included) opted out of French as soon as we hit high school in order to take an Asian language, like Mandarin or Japanese, instead.
When you live right across the ocean from Asia, it just seems to make more sense.
But now I’ve been thinking of picking up another language. Russian, German, Dutch, and Italian all seem really interesting, and it’d be nice to be able to do more than buy train tickets and coffee next time I travel to Europe!
Anyways, more madeleines today — another recipe from the cute little book I picked up in Milan.
These are different than other madeleines I’ve made before — they actually taste better at room temperature and keep well overnight!
You have to make your own praline powder for this recipe, but whooomigawd — praline powder? Gimme Gimme Gimme! Yes, please!
I like to think of it as “hazelnut crack” because it’s addictive and good on everything.
In fact, I didn’t even bother putting it on everything (except my morning yogurt), since I just ate most of it with a spoon.
Chocolate & Praline Madeleines
*adapted from Madeleines
for the praline powder…
- 1 cup whole hazelnuts, tightly packed
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup water
for the chocolate & praline madeleines…
- 1 & 1/4 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (20g) praline powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup (130g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 11 tablespoons (150g) unsalted butter, melted
- 3.5 oz (100g) bitter-sweet chocolate, melted
for the praline centers…
- 4 tablespoons (40g) praline powder
- 2 tablespoons (40g) honey
- more praline powder, for sprinkling
Making praline powder is easy-peasy — if you have a kitchen scale, bust it out and measure out equal weights of hazelnuts (or any other kind of nut you fancy) and white sugar. Otherwise, 1 cup of tightly packed nuts to 1/2 cup of sugar will give you approximately even weights.
Cook the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until the sugar starts to caramelize and turns a robust shade of amber.
Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the nuts until well coated, then turn the nuts and caramel out onto a heat-proof, non-stick surface (parchment paper works well).
Allow to cool completely, then break the mass of nuts and caramel into chunks and pulverize in a food processor until finely powdered.
If you have a terrible, dysfunctional food processor like mine, make certain to sift the praline powder. Keep the finely sifted powder for this recipe, and stuff your face do what you will with the leftover chunky stuff.
Store in a dark, cool place for 2 ~ 3 weeks.
To make the chocolate & praline madeleines, start by melting the butter and chocolate in separate saucepans over very low heat. Once melted, set each aside to cool slightly.
Stir the flour, sifted praline powder, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract together until foamy.
Fold in the flour mixture, followed by the melted butter (this will take a bit of effort, but it does all fold in!), then the melted chocolate.
Rest the batter in the fridge for one hour — or as long as overnight, but this batter will be very stiff if it gets too cold. If you find it hard to work with, simply leave the batter out of the fridge for 30 minutes before starting.
Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C. Spray a 12-mold madeleine tin with non-stick spray (or use mini-loaf pans, brioche tins, or a muffin tin)…
Mix the praline powder and honey together in a small bowl to form a paste. Set aside.
Fill each madeleine mold half-way with batter. Pinch off small pieces of praline and honey paste, roll them into tiny “logs”, and place, lengthwise, on top of the batter in the molds. Add a little more more batter, enough to just cover the praline paste logs, and smooth the tops with your fingers.
Sprinkle each madeleine with a pinch of dry praline powder.
Bake at 400°F/205°C for 8 ~ 10 minutes, or until the centre “hump” of the madeleines appear dry.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Makes at least 24 madeleines.
Like I mentioned earlier, these madeleines have the best flavour if let cooled to room temperature — that way you can really taste the sweetness of the praline paste center!
Also, since these madeleines contain nuts, they keep well — just store them in an airtight container and they’ll stay moist for at least 2 days. Chocolate and praline, perfect with morning coffee (and yogurt dusted with chunky praline powder). Yum!