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Nov 18, 2006 11:36 PM

Madeleine help, please! and a general question about the "ribbon stage"

I have been experimenting with madeleine recipes, having finally indulged in a set of metal (not nonstick) pans. For the first try, I used the Joy of Cooking recipe (friend makes lovely mads with it), which went horribly-- they came out very chewy with a sugary crust and stuck like mad. For the second batch, I used Julia Child's recipe for genoise in MTAOFC Vol. II. This worked better, but I was supposed to beat the eggs (3) and sugar (1/2 c) together to the ribbon stage. I beat and beat in my Kitchenaid (10 mins.) and still did not get to the ribbon stage. Could the eggs and sugar actually have passed the ribbon stage while my back was turned? Or did I not let it go long enough? I have had no trouble doing this for other recipes. The madeliene batter started to deflate as I added the last of the flour. So they came out OK-- didn't stick (I chilled the buttered pans which I think helped)-- but they didn't have the pretty little madeleine hump. Should I switch to one of the many recipes that just calls for baking powder? Any help on this would be great. Thanks!

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  1. I recently had trouble as well; see here for my troubles: Mine were really spongey, not an ounce of crispness in sight! They didn't stick though. I used a recipe on Epicurious; I think it might of been a Gourmet recipe. Are you supposed to avoid madeleine recipes with baking powder? (I'm a total novice when it comes to madeleines.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Katie Nell

      KatieNell, I really enjoyed your photos! And I love your Mother's china too, reminds me of my Mom's. And the food looks to be jjust glorious!

    2. Thanks KN,
      I actually read your thread before posting this one (great theme for a bebe shower). No one seems to have the definitive answer on this. My instinct is that mads with baking powder are "inferior" since they don't take the skill that the genoise takes (a skill I clearly don't have yet!). But I don't know for sure. I am going to try to track down JC's recipe in The Way to Cook. If I find it and make them I'll let you know.
      Meanwhile, my husband has been enjoying devouring all the mistakes...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Procrastibaker

        I've never attempted madeleines before, but just wanted to say I feel for you and Katie (great bebe shower, BTW, Katie!). Your queries got me so curious that I checked out some of my cookbooks to understand the process.

        Baking with Julia has a recipe by Flo Braker. The genoise can be used to make ladyfingers or madeleines. It looks like a solid recipe, although there's one instruction missing about when to add the powdered sugar. No baking powder is used.

        Donna Hay has what looks to be a simple recipe that does call for a little baking powder. The photo in the book looks so darling.

        Let me know if anyone wants either recipe for further experimentation.

        1. re: Carb Lover

          Thanks guys! Interesting about baking powder vs. no baking powder... I guess I should have done more research and experimentation before just baking them for a party! I might ask at one of my favorite bakeries the next time I'm there and see what they use.

      2. Thanks CL and KN,
        I am going to try the Julia recipe from The Way to Cook and see how that goes. I'm getting the book from the library tomorrow-- maybe it's the same recipe as is in Baking with Julia. If not, though, I'd love to try that one.


        1. Re: the ribbon. Small batches in the KA can be a problem, so blame it on that if you like. Three eggs and a half cup of sugar won't come high enough on the whisk to get the full effect - a handheld electric beater might be better for such a small batch, if you have one. 10 minutes should have been plenty of time. When making genoise, you are looking for a ribbon that when drizzled from the whisk (you used the whisk, right?) will stand on the surface of the batter for about a count of three before disappearing into it. Make sure your eggs are warm room temperature - either run warm water over the eggs or dip the KA bowl with the eggs in a bowl of warm water and swirl. Warm eggs whip up fluffier. Isn't madeline batter supposed to be refrigerated for awhile before piping - or am I thinking of something else?

          4 Replies
          1. re: babette feasts

            Madeline batter should be refigerated for about an hour or so. I have a recipe straight from a French pastry chef. I'll have to dig it up.

            1. re: sugarbuzz

              The JC "Way to Cook" recipe, which I've used many times successfully, does not call for chilling, but mixing and then letting rest for 10 minutes, the 1/4 of the 2 eggs called for, plus the sugar and flour. No baking powder. Then you add the cooled melted butter and eggs, along with salt, lemon rind and juice and vanilla. Good luck to all madeleine makers!

              1. re: MMRuth

                This produced light, golden and cripsy madeleines. Not so much my favorite of texture for madeleines. Besides, I don't know why but I like to see litte hump on the madeleine and following this recipe didn't give me that effect. I like the madeleine that Star Bucks sold, but I believe the debates have been going on for many years on how madeleine should look/ taste. If anyone knows of a recipe that produces the similar kind to the ones at Star Bucks, please be kind and let me know!

                1. re: z.emut

                  Hmm - when I've made them they've not been crispy, or maybe just the tiniest bits around the edges. But, I have mini Madeleine pans and so had to play around with the timing. I do achieve the "little humps" tough. I find that the Starbucks ones are a bit sweet and chewy for my taste - but as you say - a matter of personal preference.

          2. Thanks everyone! I think I had two problems with the last batch (the one from MTAOFC). First, the eggs were chilled, which I forgot about. Second, I think the butter was still too warm and it helped deflate my already deflating batter. I am not going to blame the KA yet, and will try again with the warm eggs and cooled butter. One question-- will a genoise batter hold up if I put it in the fridge to rest? In other words, if a recipe doesn't call for resting, can I do so anyway?

            What do you all think of this recipe, from a cookbook a friend got in France:

            Madeleines au Citron
            2 large eggs
            1/3 cup granulated sugar
            1/4 teaspoon salt
            1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
            1/4 teaspoon almond extract
            1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
            1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
            1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
            confectioner's sugar for dusting

            Preheat oven to 375. Using a pastry brush, heavily
            brush softened butter over each of the 12 molds in
            pan, carefully buttering every ridge. Dust the molds
            with flour, tilting the pan to coat the surfaces
            evenly. Turn the pan upside down and tap it gently to
            dislodge excess flour.

            In a large bowl, combine the eggs, granulated sugar,
            and salt. Using a wire whisk or a handheld mixer on
            medium-high speed, beat vigorously until pale, thick,
            and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the almond and
            vanilla extracts. Sprinkle the sifted flour over the
            egg mixture and stir or beat on low speed to

            Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the lemon zest and
            half of the melted butter just until blended. Fold in
            the remaining melted butter.

            Divide the batter among the 12 prepared molds, using a
            heaping tablespoon of batter for each mold. Bake the
            madeleines until the tops spring back when lightly
            touched, 8-12 minutes.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Procrastibaker

              As a reference, JC's recipe has 2 large eggs, 2/3 cups sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 1/4 stick butter (not all of which goes into the madeleine).

              1. re: Procrastibaker

                By the way, the space from the beater to the bowl is adjustable on the KA.

                1. re: Procrastibaker

                  I have used two different Joy of Cooking recipies for Madeleines. The successful version, the one that does not come out chewy and sticky, uses MELTED BUTTER and requires that the EGGS AND SUGAR BE WHIPPED TOGETHER IN A DOUBLE BOILER until luke warm; be careful not to cook the eggs. Also, use an inexpensive shinny tin madeleine pan instead of the expensive non-stick version. The non-stick pan tends to burn the cookies. I don't remember if baking powder is used. DO NOT USE THE 1997 JOY OF COOKING BOOK. Use an older version ( Mine was a paperback version--I think the publisher was Signet probably copyrighted 1991). Good luck. Let me know if you fine the older version of the cookbook. Likewise I'll let you know if I find this receipe since I lost it when I moved.