- Unsalted Butter: 7 T Cut into 1 T pieces
- Eggs: 5 Large
- Sugar: 1/2 C + 3 T
- AP Flour: 1 1/4 C
- Kosher/Sea Salt: Large Pinch
- Baking Powder: 1 t
- Pistachios: 1/3 C
- Roughly Chopped
- Lemon Zest: 1 Lemon
- Tools: Mixer, Madeleine Pans, Small Sauce Pan
Place your butter in a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat. When the entire bottom of our pan is covered in melted butter, add your salt and cook, stirring frequently until your butter is browned. This is much more tricky than it sounds. As the liquid in the butter is cooking off, it's going to make a foam that only those with x-ray vision can see through. Underneath that foamy business, your butter is browning and you're going to have a tough time keeping track of it. Use your spatula or spoon to stir the foam away to get brief glimpses of your butter. You're going to need to do some tricky spoon maneuvering to do it, but I believe in you. When it is golden brown, immediately remove from the heat and pour through a strainer into a clean bowl. Air on the side of caution. It's going to smell nutty and warm and if you want to pull your butter when, maybe, it's a little on the light side of golden, that's alright. Better safe than awful smelling burned butter. Set your bowl of browned butter aside.
Put your eggs in your mixing bowl with a whisk attachment and turn on medium until your eggs are all broken up. Add your sugar and lemon zest and turn your mixer on high and whisk until your eggs are fluffy and light yellow. We're talking pastel, Easter egg, butter, yellow. Take your bowl off its stand, then sift the flour and baking powder over your eggs. Fold your flour in gently with a spatula. (When I fold, I cut down the center then rotate around the outer edges, turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat). When there aren't any visible dry spots left, pour in your butter and pistachios and fold until completely incorporated. Now, you COULD put a piping tip into a pastry bag and then go through the hassle of keeping it from leaking all over your refrigerator OR you could make it really easy on yourself. Get your gallon pitcher on your counter. Put a gallon freezer bag inside your pitcher and fold it over the top of the pitcher like a trash bag. Now, scrape your batter into the bag (no hands, ma!). Smoosh all the extra air out and zip'er up. I double bagged mine to be on the safe side. Let this batter sit in your refrigerator overnight.
When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375. Melt down about two tablespoons of butter in a small prep bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush your melted butter into your molds, thoroughly coating each mold. Now, coat each with flour and then knock off as much excess flour as possible.
In the original recipe, they talk about piping the batter into the mold like it's easy. Do not go into this thinking your batter is going to go quietly into that good night. When you start piping it, you'll quickly realize how paste like it is. It will not want to let go of itself, but you're going to have to make it. Pipe enough batter into each mold that it would, when relaxed, fill up about 3/4 of the mold. It is very important at this point to remember that you are the boss in this situation. You may end up with flour on your fingers and your arms and your face and your hair, but you will prevail. Just when you think you can't take anymore, and your molds are all full, give that tray a little smack onto the counter to get rid of any would-be air bubbles.
Place them in your oven and bake until they're just getting brown around the edges. These cookies are meant for dipping, so they lean slightly toward the dry side. Over baking them will not help this, so keep a close eye. Mine took about six minutes, but like I always say, each oven is different so stay vigilant.
Pull them out and give them another little whack on your counter to release them from the pan. Some of them are going to be stubborn, so feel free to gingerly ply them free with a skewer or even more gingerly with a paring knife.
Now Try This!
These cookies are meant for dipping. Tea or a nice green coffee are really perfect with this.
If you're not into the Pistachio-Lemon combo, the world is really your oyster on this one. Skip the nuts and just add the zest! Vice versa! Try orange zest and hazelnuts or almonds. Try a spice instead of a nut! Orange and cardamom is one of my favorite combinations. Get crazy with it!
All photographs taken by TK Photography.
Original recipe adapted from The Essential New York Times Cook Book by Amanda Hesser.