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Vanilla Madeleines

 I've loved the French language since I started taking classes in high school.  I very quickly learned that I also loved a lot of French foods and culture too!  And these madeleines are a French food that I just absolutely adore.  They are a delicious, light and sweet treat that will not kill your calorie count.
 The only thing that makes these difficult is that you have to have the special madeleine pans to make them.  Yes, technically you could bake these in whoopie pans or something of the like, but you really miss out on their beautiful shape.
 These lovely treats are dusted in powdered sugar for just a little extra sweet-ness.  My favorite way to eat them is dipped in a steaming cup of hot cocoa or coffee.  Since they're so light and fluffy, they just soak the liquid right up and melt in your mouth!  To die for!
 If you're in the market for madeleine pans, they can be found online at places like Bed, Bath, and Beyond (depending on where you live, your local store might even have them).  You can also find them at specialty kitchen shops a lot of times.  There are trays with several different sizes of molds.  And there are also trays made of both metal and silicone.  I have silicone pans, and I like that you don't have to grease them, but they sometimes collapse a little bit and make a mess in the oven.  So, really, it's up to you which pans you decide to buy.
Vanilla Madeleines
Adapted from: 101 Cookbooks
Makes 2-3 dozen regular madeleines

Ingredients:
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar

Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  If using metal molds, grease with butter or cooking spray.  (This part isn't necessary if you have silicone molds.)
  2. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium high heat until it turns brown and gives off a nutty aroma.  It should take about 15-20 minutes.  Strain the butter using a paper towel over a small bowl.  Allow the butter to cool while you stir up the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Whisk the eggs and salt in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until the eggs double or triple in volume.  
  4. Continue mixing on a high speed and add the sugar.  Mix for about two minutes.
  5. Fold in the vanilla.
  6. Fold in the flour.
  7. Fold in cooled butter.  Stir as little as possible.
  8. Use a tablespoon (a cookie scoop works really well) to spoon the batter into the molds.  Fill each mold about 2/3 of the way full.
  9. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
  10. Unmold immediately onto cooling racks and then dust with powdered sugar.
These madeleines are fluffy and delicious!  I hope you enjoy!

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