March 29, 2012

i am a food blog's Earl Grey Madeleines, High-Altitude Style

When I was living in San Francisco, I used to work a few blocks away from a Daiso. The best way to describe Daiso is that it's the Japanese take on a dollar-store -- most items in the store are from Japan and cost about a dollar, and you can find a wide variety of things ranging from household supplies to hair and beauty products. In fact, afew weeks before I left for Denver, I bought two madeleine pans for $1.99 a piece from Daiso:


However, after cooking up my first batch of Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcakes, I realized that high-altitude baking was a game changer, and if I couldn't make my beloved cupcakes here, there was no way I could make madeleines. I was less familiar with the madeleine baking process and didn't dare adapt something I had never even made at sea-level. So I sighed and put my never-been-used madeleine pans away in the back of my baking cupboard.

So it was only with some sort of 'living vicariously through others' attitude that caused me to click on i am a food blog's recipe for Earl Grey Madeleines. i am a food blog is one of my favorite blogs, and I do love me some Earl Grey tea, so I figured I could pin the recipe and save it for later when I was back at sea-level. But a quick glance at the recipe's ingredients list surprised me -- the recipe contained no leavening agents!

This is an especially big deal because, if you read my blog closely, you'll know that leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda are normally the reason why sea-level recipes don't work at high-altitude. So the fact that this recipe contained no leavening agent meant that the recipe could potentially work at high-altitude without any major alteration.

And so how did the recipe fare at high-altitude?

Shockingly well:


Not bad, right?

I was right in that the lack of leavening agents in the batter was a good thing -- I didn't have the usual problem of batter overbloating and overexpanding past their allotted madeleine space.

However, 350 (F) doesn't seem hot enough for high-altitude. When I first peeked in the oven after 12 minutes (the recipe calls for a bake time of 12 - 16 minutes), the batter still looked undercooked. They were supposed to have started browning at the edges, but these ones were still a pale yellow -- and the batter was bubbling furiously! I'd never seen that happen before. So I panicked and did a very highly unscientific thing and uncharacteristic thing -- I closed the oven door, set the time for another four minutes, while increasing the oven temperature up to 400 (F).

After four minutes had passed, I pulled the madeleines out:


They looked a lot better, but if you look closely at the cookie's texture, you can see that the cookie texture is a result of the weird bubbling batter thing I was talking about earlier. In any case, these tasted delicious, so there was that. But increasing the oven temperature sporadically midway through bake time really isn't the best baking practice. Maybe next time I make them, I'll increase the oven temperature to 375 (F) or 400 (F) to begin with?

But overall, I'm happy that this recipe for madeleines is high-altitude friendly-ish. Something new to add to my repertoire, which I'm incredibly grateful for because I'm getting a little cupcaked out. Another nice thing about i am a food blog's recipe is that it seems incredibly versatile. For instance -- I didn't actually have any Earl Grey tea in the house, so I subbed the 1/2 teaspoon of Earl Grey for 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest. They turned out wonderful -- the madeleines were light, buttery, with an flavorful air of orange.

Anyway, I'm going to play around with this recipe's temperature a few more times before I post a high-altitude adjustment I am happy with. In the meantime, here is another picture to keep your imaginations and tastebuds satiated:


Nom, nom. Stay hungry, folks!

3 comments:

  1. Hi Michelle, thanks. I will have to give them try. My last attempt to bake madeleines failed terribly. I was so disappointed.I have adjusted most of my recipes very well to the altitude.I live just a little south of Denver, even higher.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kirsten!

      Hahha, I understand your frustrations! I think I've cracked the madeleine recipe, so I'll be posting up the complete recipe with steps and high-altitude adjustments in the next few days.

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    2. Here is the high-altitude recipe in full: http://hummingbirdhigh.blogspot.com/2012/04/orange-madeleines-with-honey-orange.html

      Enjoy!

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