French novelist Marcel Proust must have thought of Madeleines when he came up with the name for his work Les Plaisirs et Les Jours (Pleasures and Days). After all, Madeleines were his favourite amongst all enticing French desserts. Here is the most surprising thing about Madeleines - they probably are the simplest of all French confectionary treats. They don't take too much skill, time or effort. However, they are perfect! Tiny sweet, buttery sponge cakes, scented with vanilla and some joyful notes of orange. When you hold one in your hand, it softly speaks to you and asks you to find the most comfortable place in your house, make a cup of fragrant tea and dunk it so it absorbs the hot liquid and it can burst in your mouth with that unmistakable combination of flavour and warmth.
Madeleines are delicious. But there is one ingredient that can take them to the next level of satisfaction. And that ingredient is chocolate. The food of Gods and one of the oldest aphrodisiacs. It is known to spike dopamine, the brain's pleasure chemical that also plays part in sexual arousal. If you don't want to add any chocolate to the Madeleine batter, you can serve some pieces of chocolate on the side. Just make sure that it is dark chocolate. It is the one that the ancient Aztecs used to spike lust. With chocolate or without, Madeleines are a perfect dessert. Shower them with some powdered sugar, make yourself a warm drink and just enjoy. Time to yourself and a little break can be more powerful and recharging than any aphrodisiac in the world. I wish you to find time for you and for your pleasure. Whatever it may be.
Makes 12 Madeleines:
1/4 cup of butter,
1/2 teasp. vanilla extract,
A pinch of salt,
1/3 cup of sugar,
1 tbsp. orange zest,
1/2 cup of butter,
2 tbsp. grated dark chocolate.
Butter and flour 12 Madeleine molds.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
In a bowl combine vanilla and eggs and using an electric mixer, beat until well combined.
Add sugar, salt and beat for about 5 minutes.
Slowly sift in flour. At this stage it is better to fold it in as opposed to incorporate it using an electric mixer.
Melt the butter and add it to the egg and flower mixture. Add chocolate and orange zest. Gently fold them in.
Spoon your batter into the prepped Madeleine molds. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Once they are ready, carefully remove them from the molds and place on the cooling rack.
Shower them with some powdered sugar and serve.