Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

My very sweet friend Jackie got married this past weekend in Pittsburgh, PA.  There is a fabulous tradition in Pittsburgh that instead of traditional favors at a wedding, the families and friends of the couple all bring a few dozen cookies so set out on a cookies table.  Then guests can take a few cookies with them when they leave.  I love this idea.  It incorporates friends and family into your day, it is inexpensive, and it really doesn't overburden anyone because you are only asking people to make a batch or two of cookies.  If you were asking one person to make 15 dozen...that would be a lot, but asking 5 people to each make 3 dozen, well...that is easy breezy.  I wanted to make something really special since this was a big day.  I also wanted to make something unique, since there would be lots of big competition on the cookie table.  I wanted mine to stand out!  I turned to my trusty Madeline pan and to a classic combination of sweet orange and savory cardamon spice to make a light and still rich cookie that I really loved.  Cardamom is a typical middle Eastern spice that is very aromatic and perfumes the whole cookie with depth.  It took all I had in me not to rip into my tupperware and eat these all on the drive up to Pittsburgh's, but my willpower was strong and they made it to the table!
Orange Cardamom Madeleines (makes 1 dozen)
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs. orange juice
zest of 1/2 Orange
4-5 cardamom pods
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1 stick butter (melted)
1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly. Also, spray your Madeleine tin with non-stick spray and put it in the freezer while you make the batter. This will make it super easy to get them out later and it will make the design from the pan more prominent. Don't ask me why.
2.  To remove the cardamom from the pods, crush the little pods with the flat side of a knife (like you would to smash a garlic cloves to remove the skin).  The tiny seeds will come out.
Then crush them up fine in a mortar and pestle.
3. Whisk together eggs and sugar in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add orange zest, juice, and salt and mix until combined.
5. Sift the flour and baking powder and whisk in until just combined. Then fold in the melted and slightly cooled butter.
6. Get your Madeleine pan out of the freezer and evenly spoon the batter into each spot.
7. Bake at 375 for 9 minutes until the edges just start to brown.
8. Remove from the tin and allow to cool on a rack.

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