Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines.

Light, puffy pumpkin spice cookies full of brown butter and fall spices, the signature sponge cake-texture of French madeleines, and all the flavor of a pumpkin spice scone + how to make your own pumpkin pie spice at home for baking.

Last Christmas I asked for a madeleine pan (just let it happen. My Christmas wishes always end up being baking-related.) ... and now, ten months later, I've finally used it!

These cakey, pumpkin spice cookies literally only happened because I found my madeleine pan while packing up my kitchen life. If fall is supposed to be the calm before the storm or the hush before winter, then whoever said that never had a lease up in November.


Because I'm moving... again!

Okay, underneath all that stress, I'm excited. I am. I secretly love new places, that feel of starting over and creating a home, finding new places for everything, and totally justified every other day trips to Pier 1 and Target. The part I don't like is right now. Just... BOXES. So many boxes. Boxes on boxes. Everything feels a little upside down. I have absolutely no idea where anything is.

What I do is know is if there were ever a madeleine I could fall in love with it would be pumpkin-spiced. I've never really understood those buttery, bite-size, sponge-cake cookies Starbucks tries to sell me with my coffee. Seems like I could I just eat a vanilla cupcake instead. But my boyfriend is obsessed and I'm obsessed with pumpkin spice, so this seemed like a good place to start.

I cannot believe I put off making madeleines for so long. I was so intimidated by the sponge cake batter, piping it into fancy, French pans, and the delicate, seashell shapes, that my new madeleine pan immediately went the way all my other forgotten baking things I "had" to have (which, if you're wondering, includes a handheld heart-shaped pie press and heart-shaped springform pans.)

These light, puffy pumpkin cookies are full of brown butter and fall spices and taste exactly like a soft, cakey pumpkin spice scone. My boyfriend swears they're just fancy, bite-sized pumpkin breads and calling them a "cookie" is a baking lie.

Either way, they're the perfect spiced cookie to start your fall mornings with. Pair them with pumpkin coffee. Dip them in white chocolate. Glaze them with a sugar and spice glaze like your favorite coffee shop scone. Live your fall life.

P.S. If you're like me, you never have anything convenient like pumpkin pie spice just waiting in your cupboards... because if you did, you would already be out because you've been spiking your coffee with it since the last day of summer. You do, however, have every other spice that you could ever possibly need at a moment's notice ... and that calls for pumpkin spice math, which is totally a thing and looks a lot like this... because yes. On top of baking fancy French cookies, we're also making our own pumpkin pie spice:

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice = 

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

This recipe only calls for 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. You now have an extra tablespoon to shake on your lattes and hot chocolate. You're welcome.

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

Printable Recipe

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

Brown your butter. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until golden brown. Once butter is browned, remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool slightly while preparing the rest of the cookie batter. For more information on how to brown butter, see this post

Eggs + sugar. Whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on high speed until light and fluffy and tripled in size, about 10 minutes (to the consistency & color of melted vanilla ice cream). 

Sift. Sift flour mixture over the mixer bowl in two additions, folding in with a spatula after each addition. 

Pumpkin. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin and slightly cooled brown butter. Add in two additions, folding in after each addition, with a spatula. 

Chill. Fold in honey and vanilla, then cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours

Preheat + prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let batter stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Spray madeleine pans with baking spray or grease with butter.

Pipe. Transfer batter to a pastry bag (or a Ziploc bag) and snip the end to create a 1/2-inch opening. Pipe batter into prepared molds, filling each about three-quarters full.

Bake. Bake for 8-11 minutes (10 minutes was perfect for mine), or until pale brown and darker around the edges. Immediately shake out madeleines scalloped-side down onto wax paper and allow to cool completely. Wash and re-grease molds and repeat with remaining batter. 

Makes 3 1/2 dozen madeleines. 

Source: Adapted from The Lung Family.

P.S. I recently ran in my 6th 5k this past weekend, a wine run in Napa Valley! It was one of the most challenging runs I've done yet... maybe it was all the wine or the rolling hills or the crazy, rocky, ankle-twisting gravel trails. Either way, it felt good to tie up my purple laces and pound out some moving stress on a vineyard path. Also: WINE.