This delicate Southern twist on the traditional French sponge cake is one of our favorite hostess gifts. Light and airy, and not too sweet, they'd have Proust swooning "Lawdamercy."
2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk together cornmeal mix, flour, and sugar in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. Whisk together just until blended. Spoon batter into lightly greased shiny madeleine pans, filling three-fourths full. Bake, in batches, 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately. Serve hot, or cool completely on wire racks (about 20 minutes), and freeze in zip-top plastic freezer bags up to 1 month. To serve, arrange desired amount of madeleines on a baking sheet, and bake at 350° for 5 to 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
TRY THESE TWISTS
Orange-Rosemary: Prepare recipe as directed, adding 2 Tbsp. orange zest and 1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary to dry ingredients.
Lemon-Thyme: Prepare recipe as directed, adding 1 Tbsp. lemon zest and 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme to dry ingredients.
Spicy White Cheddar: Reduce sugar to 2 Tbsp. Prepare recipe as directed, adding 3/4 cup finely shredded white Cheddar cheese and 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper to dry ingredients.
The traditional shiny heavy-gauge, tinned steel madeleine pan, which makes one dozen 3- x 2-inch madeleines, yields the prettiest results. (Dark nonstick versions tend to over-brown.) Look for shiny pans in bake shops, or order online from bakeandcookco.com ($17.95) or amazon.com. To prevent over-browning if you do use a dark nonstick madeleine pan, wrap the bottom of the pan with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side out.
These are wonderful treats with soups or any meal you want to dress up your cornbread. They popped right out of the pan with no sticking with a good knock of the pan on its side on a countertop. I half the recipe which provides a generous portion for a family of six.