Madeleines are about as iconic as pastries get in France, which might explain why I haven't had the nerve to offer these Fluff-Filled Chocolate Madeleines to my Paris neighbors. Actually, they'd probably like them—who in the world can resist chocolate and marshmallow and, just for good measure, ganache, that ethereal mix of chocolate and cream?
The first time I made these was also the first time I'd had Marshmallow Fluff. Since I didn't grow up with Fluff and it wasn't anything either my husband or son liked, filling luscious chocolate madeleines with the stuff wasn't an idea that jumped to mind naturally—I was nudged by a request from Justin Schwartz, the author of The Marshmallow Fluff Cookbook, to come up with something fun for his collection. Since making these (I also included them in Baking: From My Home to Yours), I keep a jar of Fluff in the cupboard, just in case the urge for these cute tea cakes strikes. I even brought a jar of Fluff to Paris. Who knows, one day I just might screw up my courage and make them for my neighbors.
Playing Around: Use the same poke-and-pipe technique to fill the madeleines with raspberry jam, lemon curd or Nutella.
Fluff-Filled Chocolate Madeleines
- For the madeleines:
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Fluff, for filling and frosting
- For the dip:
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make the madeleines: Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until they are pale and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract, switch to a large rubber spatula and gently fold in the sifted dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Put a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or for up to 2 days. Chilling the batter gives you a better chance of getting the characteristic bump on the back of the cookies.
Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Butter and flour the pan even if it is nonstick; you can skip this step if you are using silicone pans. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
Spoon the batter into the molds.
Place the pan in the oven and immediately lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes, or until they feel springy to the touch. Remove the pan from the oven and rap one side of the madeleine pan against the counter – the plump little cakes should come tumbling out. Gently pry any reluctant cookies out with your fingers or a butter knife. Cool to room temperature on a rack.
To fill the madeleines: Fit a small pastry bag with a small plain tip and spoon Fluff into the bag. Use the point of the tip to poke a hole in the rounded (plain) side of each madeleine, and pipe enough Fluff into each cookie to fill it—stop when the Fluff reaches the top of the cake. (You'll use only a bit of Fluff.)
To make the dip: Put the chocolate in a small deep heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a full boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Wait 1 minute, then gently whisk the cream into the chocolate. Start at the center and slowly work your way out in concentric circles until you have a smooth, shiny mixture. Gently whisk in the butter.
Line a small baking sheet with wax paper. One by one, hold a madeleine at its narrow end and dip it into the chocolate, then lift it up, let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl and place the cookie, plain side down, on the wax paper. Slide the baking sheet into the refrigerator to set the glaze, about 15 minutes. (You'll have more ganache than you need, but making a larger quantity produces a better ganache. Leftover dip can be covered and refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.)
If you'd like, pipe a little squiggle of Fluff on the top of each Madeleine once the chocolate is set.
Serving: Coffee of every variety, milk and hot chocolate are all good companions.
Storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. However, wrapped airtight, they can be frozen—even after they've been filled and frosted—for up to 2 months. And stale madeleines, as Proust would be the first to tell you, are good for dunking.