Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Madeleines



What could possibly be more romantic than strawberries and chocolate? I mean c'mon... this combination just screams Valentine's Day.

It seems that my coworkers have grown a little accustomed to me bringing sweets in on the weekends I work, so I promised something extra special for this weekend since V-Day is on Monday. And I just couldn't get the strawberries and chocolate idea out of my head! Strawberry cupcakes with chocolate frosting sounded nice at first, but a little overdone, I thought. Then one day, as I ate a buttery little madeleine cookie while at coffee with a friend, it hit me... chocolate-dipped strawberry madeleines! It would be like eating a chocolate-dipped strawberry - small, delicate, and strawberry sweet with luscious chocolate - only in cake/cookie form!


I searched and searched for such a recipe, but eventually resigned myself to the idea that I'd have to create my own... a little scary for me at this point, with my very novice baking skills. But I must admit, they didn't turn out half bad! I chose to use real frozen strawberries to flavor the madeleines rather than jello powder, as I really prefer unprocessed, non-chemical ingredients in my food. (I also took a little inspiration from this strawberry cake recipe from Courtney at Cook Like a Champion.) Worried about the moisture content of these little cakes, I opted to chop the strawberries into small pieces rather than puree them for my first attempt, but I wound up adding the drained juices for extra strawberry flavor anyway so I think pureeing next time might still be successful. Three other things I learned from this little experiment of mine: 1) Add more food coloring next time. The batter was a nice bright pink before baking, but (as you can see) they faded by the time I took them out of the oven. 2) Don't overfill the madeleine pans. They spread and rise as they bake, so one cookie scoop is plenty. Tapping the pan gently on the counter after filling also helps the batter to spread out evenly. and 3) Don't overbake! While they still taste almost as good, they quickly go from a nice golden color to brown with just a minute or two's alteration. Overall I think this is a recipe I think I'll keep playing with... they still turned out pretty scrumptious, but I do think there is some room for improvement.

Here is the recipe, as made this weekend.






Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Madeleines
adapted from Ina Garten at Food Network

Ingredients
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup chopped frozen strawberries, thawed, with juice reserved
pink liquid food coloring
4 oz. good-quality dark chocolate (I used 60% Ghiradelli)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add butter and beat for another minute or so.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt. Stir this into the egg-butter mixture using a rubber spatula. Fold in the strawberries and juice. Add 6 drops of food coloring and gently mix until an even color results.
4. Scoop batter into madeleine pans (this recipe will make at least 24). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and the batter springs back when pressed. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with wax paper and cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, create a double boiler using a small saucepan and a heat-proof glass bowl, ensuring that the water in the pan does not contact the bottom of the bowl. Evenly melt the chocolate this way. Dip the madeleines in the chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Allow to cool until the chocolate has hardened.

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