Chocolate Madeleines (from Simply French, by Patricia Wells)
Unsalted butter, softened, and all-purpose flour for the tins
13 T. unsalted butter
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate (preferably Lindt Excellence, finely grated or chopped)
1 2/3 c. confectioners’ sugar
½ c. plus 1 T. all-purpose flour
½ c. finely ground unblanched almonds
6 large egg whites
1 T. mild honey, such as lavender
With a brush, evenly coat the madeleine molds with butter, making sure you get into the indentations, and dust lightly with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set aside.
Prepare the brown butter: In a large saucepan, heat the butter over moderately high heat. The butter will go through several stages, from a foamy white liquid to one that’s almost clear and golden, with big airy bubbles. When the butter begins to brown and gives off a nutty aroma (about 5 minutes), transfer it to a medium-sized metal or ceramic bowl to stop the cooking. Set aside to cool.
Melt the chocolate: Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over gently simmering water. The top container should not touch the water, or the chocolate will melt too quickly. Also do not cover the pan, or drops of water will drip into the chocolate and alter its texture. Stir frequently, and remove from the heat before all the pieces have melted. The residual heat will melt the remaining pieces. Set aside to cool.
Sift the sugar and flour into a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the ground almonds and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the almond mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the brown butter and the honey. Add the melted chocolate, and whisk to blend.
Spoon the batter into the prepared molds, filling them almost to the top. Refrigerate for about 30 mins. to firm up the batter.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place the tins in the oven and bake until the madeleines are evenly dark brown and springy to the touch, 12 to 15 mins. Remove from the oven. Sharply rap the tins against a flat surface to loosen the madeleines. Unmold immediately, using the tip of a sharp knife if necessary, and transfer to a rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. When completely cooled, the madeleines can be stored for several days in an airtight container.
Makes about 30 madeleines.