This week's SMS was chosen by Debbie of Cafe Chibita: chestnut honey madeleines. It's been a really busy few days here and honestly, I'm just exhausted, so these madeleines almost didn't happen. I had all the ingredients on hand though, and my madeleine pan is so infrequently utilized I couldn't help but make a little time to whip these cookies up.
Turns out, it took me quite a bit of time to get this batter together. The recipe calls for roasted hazelnuts and for some reason, when I bought hazelnuts many months ago I bought the ones in the shell with the skins on. I don't have a fancy gadget to crack the nuts, so I spent yesterday afternoon standing over my kitchen counter with a meat mallet trying to free my hazlenuts from their shells. It works, but it's loud and messy (think pieces of hazelnut shells strewn all over). Once I finished that task, I roasted the nuts at 350 F for about 10 minutes then rubbed the skins off of them before finally grinding them in the food processor to make a coarse flour.
The rest of the recipe was considerably easier. The hazelnut flour, more confectioners' sugar and some all-purpose flour are combined with egg whites that have been whipped until foamy as well as a bit of honey (I used clover honey). Finally, browned butter is added to the bowl to complete the batter (I left the solids in my brown butter - extra flavor!). The molds are filled and then have to be refrigerated for a few hours before they're baked. After all the time I spent putting the batter together, I was disappointed to find my madeleines already on the brink of burning before the minimum baking time suggested in the book. I'm generally very attentive to things in the oven, but we were outside doing yard work so I was running in and out and at about 12 minutes my madeleines looked, well, like you see in the photos. I hid some of the darker ones on the bottom so those are the good ones that are visible.
Hazelnuts aren't really my thing, so I wasn't shocked I didn't love the madeleines. They were too nutty for me. That said, I served them at the Father's Day lunch we hosted today and they seemed to be well received. No rave reviews, but I did see one or two people go back for seconds so I think it's safe to say they liked them. Many thanks to Debbie for hosting this week! She will share the recipe on her site or you can find it on pages 62-63 of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.