In these elegant maple madeleines, maple sugar is combined with orange zest to create an extra-aromatic treat. Enjoy with a hot cup of tea!
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It’s no secret that maple products are my favorite sweeteners. I grew up with them and I’m lucky enough to live in a place where they’re produced in large quantities, which makes them affordable, too. The good news is that maple products are exported in huge numbers, which means more and more people can get their hands on them and use them to create the most delicious desserts.
Maple products are delightful on their own—I’ll never say no to a spoonful of maple taffy!—but to me, maple products become even more enticing when incorporated into baked desserts such as cakes and cookies. When heated, maple sugar and maple syrup become so aromatic, they make your whole kitchen smell like a sugar shack. And infusing this irresistible aroma into your desserts gives them an extra flavor dimension, which regular granulated sugar would never provide.
While maple syrup is great (and irreplaceable) in desserts such as Maple Syrup Fudge and Québécois Maple Pudding, my go-to maple product to bake with is actually granulated maple sugar because it’s so versatile. In most desserts, you can substitute granulated (fine) maple sugar for regular sugar at a 1:1 ratio. Using maple sugar instead of regular granulated sugar instantly elevates all desserts!
My favorite desserts to make with maple sugar are Maple Leaf Cookies, Pecan and Maple Thumbprint Cookies, and of course, these beautiful Orange and Maple Madeleines. If you’re not used to consuming as much in the way of maple products as I am, you might not know that citrus fruits—oranges, especially—and maple go wonderfully well together. I’d even go so far as to say they’re a match made in heaven! The bright juiciness of oranges is the perfect flavor complement to the sweet earthiness of maple.
But don’t just take my word for it and give these Orange and Maple Madeleines a try! Fresh out of the oven, brushed with warm maple syrup, these madeleines are the ultimate teatime treat.
I’m including all my tips to help you make perfect maple madeleines below. For more information about madeleines and even more in-depth tips to bake them, make sure to refer to my article How to Make Classic Madeleines.
If you’re like me, you probably already have too many baking pans, and so you’re wondering if you really need to get a new pan just to make madeleines. Although a madeleine pan is the only pan that will produce shell-shaped cakes, you can also use a muffin pan to make delicious madeleines. To make madeleines in a muffin pan, generously grease and lightly flour all muffin cups, tapping off the excess. (You can also line the pan with parchment paper cups.) If you add only a small amount of batter to each cup, you will produce thin cakes with crisp edges that very closely mimic the texture of authentic madeleines. If you go the extra mile as indicated in the recipe—freeze your pan and refrigerate the batter—your round madeleines will even have that signature hump in the center of the cakes.
Madeleines have a pronounced hump on their back. This hump is the signature of a “perfect” classic madeleine. This hump has given madeleines a completely undeserved fussy reputation: it’s actually very easy to bake perfectly plump madeleines.
Madeleine humps are achieved by a temperature shock between a freezing cold pan and cold madeleine batter, and a very hot oven. While it might be tempting to skip the freezing and refrigerating delays to produce madeleines faster, you should know that haste will likely lead to madeleines that aren’t as fluffy, light, and high as they could be.
Refer to the instructions provided in the recipe, below, to learn how to properly prepare your madeleine pans for baking.
Madeleine are at their very best freshly baked. This is when the contrast between the super-light crumb and the crunchy edge is at its very best. In an ideal world, madeleines should be enjoyed within a couple of hours of coming out of the oven.
If you store madeleines in an airtight container, they will lose their delicate crispy edges. Day-old madeleines are still absolutely delicious, though. Their texture will remind you more of a mini cupcake, which is nothing to balk at.
The good news is that madeleine batter will keep refrigerated for up to three days, which means you can bake just as many madeleines as you need and enjoy them fresh over several days. A pretty dreamy proposition, if you ask me!
Maple sugar is made from boiling maple syrup until the liquid evaporates and the granulated sugar remains. Maple sugar comes in a variety of textures, from superfine to coarse. This recipe for maple madeleines use fine granulated maple sugar (see it illustrated on the left-hand side of the photo, below).
The texture of granulated maple sugar is more uneven than that of granulated sugar, but it acts and dissolves similarly, which is why granulated maple sugar can be a substitute for regular granulated sugar in any recipe at a 1:1 ratio.
Granulated maple sugar can be a bit more difficult to find than maple syrup and it can be expensive, too. Look for companies that sell it in bulk, such as Yupik, in Canada, which sells 450 g (1 lb) bags of organic maple sugar for less than CAD 20.
Yes, you can. The maple flavor will be less intense, but if you have maple syrup on hand, make sure to brush the warm madeleines with it, as instructed in the recipe. You’ll still get to enjoy that irresistible aromatic maple kick!
Yes, any member of the orange family will do, from mandarins to blood oranges! What you need is to infuse the maple madeleines with aromatic zest, so any orange will do. You could even swap in lemons, if that’s what you have on hand.
Yes, you can. The maple madeleines will be just as delightful without the orange zest, though not quite as aromatic. Since only orange zest is used in the recipe, the flavor is pretty subtle, adding floral undertones to the maple madeleines. You can only use orange blossom water, if you want to, or go the traditional route, sans citrus, and use pure vanilla extract instead.
Love maple? Then you need to get your hands on my Maple Desserts & Treats Cookbook! Filled with 25 maple-centric recipes, from timeless classics to modern treats, Maple Desserts & Treats is a downloadable eBook with a collection of irresistible recipes made with nature’s most aromatic sugar. Get it all in a handy, “save it everywhere” PDF format! LEARN MORE
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