It was a regular weekend except that it was gorgeous outside. P. and I decided to go out for the day to walk and picnic on Plum island. Only an hour drive North of Boston, Plum island is a tiny paradise for anyone looking for a secluded spot away from the city. With magical natural salt marshes, a myriad of interesting birds and wildlife everywhere along orange-tinted sandy beaches, you can forget about daily worries and stress. It is simply beautiful up there at this time of the year. In the summer, we come here often to bike and swim, probably not enough this year. It was a little chillier than the previous days but nothing that would prevent us from having our picnic on the beach. We were determined to have it there.
When we arrived around noon, the sun was high and bright, still casting a beautiful shade of orange so typical of around here. It was playful as well, with rays of light dancing between the multitude of sand-colored wild reeds bordering the marshes, just what we needed to keep our bodies warm. Or maybe it was the walk we took that made us feel toasty. We packed a bag full of goodies, prosciutto sandwiches with greens and avocado, a carrot salad, salt and vinegar crisps — P.’s favorites, en bon irlandais — , a few local red apples and a tall thermos of green tea. But what would a picnic be if there were not any sweet little nibbles to go along with a nice cup of warm tea?
I do not need to introduce you to les madeleines, these delicious moist French tea cakes. Of course, Marcel Proust made them famous — merci ! — calling them coquillages de la pâtisserie (pastry seashells) because of the special tins in which they are cooked. There are so many possible flavors and variations nowadays that I am sure that if I decided to make one variant every week of the year, I would never get short of ideas on how to prepare them. For me however, they remain even more special if chocolate is on the ingredient list. I know, not very original, pretty traditional as a matter of fact, but what can I say, I am just a victim and can confess that I am a real chocolate addict, une vraie ! And pretty happy this way.
Ah les madeleines ! Le paradis !
Only a few ingredients are needed: butter, eggs, flour, sugar and an additional flavor of your choice. The more traditional recipes use lemon zest or orange essence, just as for the madeleines de Commercy, which were the first madeleines I ever tasted really, as they are a speciality from where I am from in France. How can you resist their buttery, moist and light texture? They are easy to make, require some patience if you want to maximize your chances to get them right but in the end, are worth every effort put into making them. I prefer my chocolate madeleines on the dark chocolate side, using a flavorful 70% cocoa chocolate — like Valrhona — , so I am always stingy with the sugar I add to the preparation.
I had not made madeleines in a while but got inspired to after seeing so many lovely recipes around on the foodosphere, enough to trigger my inspiration to bake some. My madeleines might not be the same as the ones Proust would have eaten but still. I packed a few of these delicacies in our picnic bag. No need to say that they were gone in no time. And now I know one thing: I will not wait to go the beach next to bake a new batch. I just do not know why I left them dans l’oubli (forgotten ) for so long!
- 3 eggs
- 3.5 oz all-purpose flour
- 4.5 oz fine sugar
- 3.5 oz dark chocolate (70 %, Valhrona)
- 4 oz butter
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt over a pot of simmering water. Let it cool down.
- Sift the flour and baking powder and keep on the side.
- Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until thicker.
- Reduce the speed and add the sugar progressively. Increase the speed to high again and beat until lighter.
- Remove the bowl and add the flour and baking powder with a wooden spoon.
- Add the cool melted chocolate and butter and blend, not overworking the dough.
- Place the batter in the fridge for a few hours before baking (minimum 1 hour).
- Fill special madeleine molds 3/4 full.
- Preheat your oven at 430 F (220 C) and cook the madeleines for 7 mns first so that they rise nicely, then reduce the heat to 350 F and continue to cook for 4 more mns.
Note: These madeleines can be kept for a few days in an air-proof metallic box but are much nicer if eaten the day they are cooked.
- 3 oeufs
- 100 g de farine multi-usage
- 125 g de sucre fin
- 100 g de chocolat noir (70 %, Valhrona)
- 115 g de beurre
- 1 càc de levure chimique
- Mettez le chocolat et le beurre dans un bol et faites-les fondre au bain-marie. Laissez refroidir.
- Tamisez la farine et la levure et mettez-les de côté.
- Mettez les oeufs entiers dans le bol de votre mixeur et battez-les jusqu’a ce qu’ils épaississent.
- Réduisez la vitesse et ajoutez progressivement le sucre. Augmentez alors la vitesse du batteur à nouveau, et continuez à mélanger jusqu’à ce que la préparation soit pâle de couleur.
- Ajoutez la farine et mélangez à la main, à l’aide d’une cuiller en bois.
- Ajoutez le chocolat et le beurre fondus refroidis, en prêtant attention à ne pas trop travailler la pâte.
- Mettez la pâte au frigo pendant quelques heures avant de cuire vos madeleines (1 heure minimum).
- Remplissez des moules à madeleines au 3/4.
- Préchauffez votre four à 220 C et cuisez les madeleines pendant 7 mns pour qu’elles montent bien, puis réduisez la température du four à 180 C, en poursuivant la cuisson pendant 4 mns supplémentaires. Démoulez-les sur une grille.
Remarque : Les madeleines peuvent se conserver quelques jours dans une boîte métallique mais sont bien meilleures consommées le jour même !
Hummm… j’aime bien tes madeleines chocolate. Et j’aime bien les photos.
What a wonderful selection of foods for traveling to a picnic sight……do wish I was along that day! Happy Cooking!
A chaque fois que je viens, je suis en admiration devant les photos ! Si bien que j’en oublierai presque (je dis bien presque !) de regarder la recette !!!! C’est tellement sublime !
wa sympa ce picnic toutes tes photos sont magnifiques!
Superbes photos de superbes madeleines!
je ne suis habituellement pas une inconditionnelle des madeleines mais tes photos, ton texte, tout me donne envie de revenir sur mon idée!
Tout est vraiment trop beau, bravo!!
Waouh, que les photos sont belles !
ohlala quelles photos!!! Mais comment fais-tu?!!!! Moi aussi je veux des belles photos comme les tiennes et puis des belles madeleines aussi!!!
Je peux venir pique-niquer avec vous?
Quel agréable voyage… Béa, tu as un talent incroyable.
how lovely! really love your mise en place photos leading up to the madeleine pictures =) those cocoa dusted madeleines tied up with the green ribbon look like something out of alice in wonderland. where were your nature shots taken–newburyport?
Nice pics…there sure are a lot of ’em 😀
what a pretty place to picnic! and those madelines, yum!
Quelles belles photos! Je partirais bien aussi en pique-nique!
Bea, you always have thee best ideas…the best!
Tes photos affolent mes pupilles… et j’ai l’impression que tes yeux embellissent le monde !!!
Madeleines au chocolat ? WIZZZ
Such beautiful photos as always!
Plum Island is beautiful!!! A place that gorgeous deserves the best–and those Madeleines are just the thing.
Tres beaux paysages et avec des madeleines pareilles, c’est encore plus beau:):)
tes madeleines sont très belles et puis les photos à tomber…
Oh, today I am envious of your picnic. The northwest has been bucketed by rain, although I seem to have missed most of it just getting back into town. I had a lovely walk in puddles this morning, but I would rather have been at a picnic at the beach with these madeleines!
Un post de rêve, it’s SO … beautiful !
Sounds like the perfect Sunday Béa! I especially love the photo of the walk bridge. To my shame I’ve never made madeleines, I haven’t got the right pan, however I saw Barbara recently made them in patty pans – so I really have no excuses now!
Tu en as de la chance de vivre à proximité d’un tel lieu paradisiaque !
The last shot looks perfect. These sound so yummy!
Your posts always put a smile on my face. Love madeleines.Thank you.Merci!!
A loves these! Reminds her of her middle name!
I prefer pistachio, lemon and also lavender in the summer wtih lemonade-
But- may have to make these as my postal officer is stopping by for tea with me and A- to play a game of fish!
I will forget the madeleine recipe, today. Such a landscape is so hypnotic, mainly because you are an artist, Béa!!!
Yours are lovely too Bea. I put what we didn’t eat in the freezer and a quick blast in the microwave and they were fine.
Tu sais a quel point j’aime les madeleines et celles ci me font deja de l’oeil!
J’adore la derniere photo. Parfaite!
Bea, I would love to have been at this picnic just from the scenery shots, but then you throw in some chocolate Madeleines. Wow
Your photos just always make me so happy. Your madeleines do too!
Ouah je ne resiste pas a ce reportage, merci beaucoup et encore tout plein d’autres svp. Ces photos d’automne me rendent jalouse de ton ‘coup’ d’appareil photo.
I just can’t fathom what you do to take such amazing pictures all the time, I would be pleased as punch if you ever did a blog on how you take pictures. It just amazes me…and I think I may have to buy a madeline pan, just because of you.
Paradise, in deed, and with salt and vinegar chips, even better!
tu vas devenir celèbre…
j’en suis sure!!
Simply stunning photographs, especially that last one of them wrapped in that green ribbon is so delightfully sweet and whimsical!
Bea – your beach picnic looks wonderful! I’m almost sad that it’s snowing here already:)
I haven’t made madeleines yet, but am definitely inspired now!
Couldn’t you just once take a so-so picture? Even a marsh not looking gorgeous would be helpful. Do you edit out anything at all? I love when you put a bow on anything…You tie a mean bow too :-ll
Sheech! Lovely. I have to agree with ParisBreakfasts – you seem to make it all look romantic and beautiful.
I too have just made madeleines – I bought my pans 25 years ago, made them once and then left them dans l’oubli. I think it won’t be 25 years again! The are such good tea cookies!
Cet endroit est un véritable paradis tout comme tes madeleines et tes photos que je trouve toujours aussi jolies au fil des billets… Bravo Béa, c’est une fois de plus une réussite !
Plum Island- what a beautiful get-a-way. Those madeleines are perfection, can I have one?? Please?!!!
Thank you all very much for your great comments. I am pleased to hear that I would have a nice crowd to come along with me on a picnic. True that if you ever get to this place, you MUST visit!
Merci bien à tous pour vos superbes commentaires. Je suis heureuse de savoir que je pourrais vous emmener en pique-nique avec moi. Si vous êtes de passage dans le coin, il faut absolument venir voir cela !
I loved your photos of Plum Island. I can’t believe I lived in Boston for years and have never been there…I’m embarrassed to admit it.
Oh Julie, you will have to come back to visit the place 😉
beautiful madeleines! and i love all the green in your photos. very stunning
C’est images sont pleines de fraicheur et quelle délicatesse… J’adore !
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Where can i purchase Madeleines pans?
Was searching for a chocolate madelines recipe and came across your post. Lovely pictures!
its going to be fun when you have this in your picnic..yumyum
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I’m in love with your chocolate madeleine recipe!! I’ve already used it a couple of times for dinners and afternoon tea parties, they rock… I’ve used them again last night for a romantic dinner, as I was looking for a recipe to showcase an amazing Valrhona single origin chocolate I had at home, and it was a perfect match.
I’ve blogged about the madeleines and included a link back to your blog – thanks again for sharing this amazing recipe!
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