I had tea with with a well mannered hedgehog once on a crisp fall day. He brought me a tiny bouquet of flowers, which I placed in a small jam jar filled with water. He said the delightful maple scent of these Madeleines reminded him of his time in the woods, as a young hoglet. When he had his fill of the delicate little cakes, I wrapped some in a tea towel for his journey home.
As cooler weather approaches, I’m always looking for a little something to enjoy with a warm drink and a good book. Although traditional Madeleines typically remind me of spring, these Maple Brown Sugar Madeleines have a cozy fall feeling. They go well with coffee, tea or hot cocoa. If you want to make them for a friend, make the batter and keep it in the refrigerator. Bake the Madeleines right before your friend arrives.
I used a spherical Madeleine pan to make these maple scented little cakes. The Madeleines made in this pan are a little thicker and fluffier than those made in a traditional oval pan. To find the Madeleine pan I used, click here. You can certainly use a traditional pan if you prefer. Keep in mind that the baking time will be shorter and you will end up with about twice as many.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar and maple extract, on high speed with an electric mixer, until batter is voluminous, light in color and holds its shape when you lift the beater, about 8-10 minutes.
Combine melted butter and maple syrup.
Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture in three additions, alternating with the melted butter. Fold just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all flour is combined.
Cover and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a spherical Madeleine pan* with nonstick spray or melted butter. Dust the pan with a light coating of flour. Tap out the excess flour.
Fill the wells of the Madeleine pan with batter 3/4 full, about 2 tablespoons each, using a scoop**, a spoon or a piping bag. If you're using a traditional oval Madeleine pan, fill 3/4 full, about a generous tablespoon of batter in each.
Bake until golden brown around the edges and puffed in the center, about 10-12 minutes. Baking time for oval Madeleine pan will be about 7-8 minutes. Do not over bake.
Cool in pan for one minute then turn Madeleines out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Top with maple icing and nuts.
In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, maple extract and one tablespoon of milk. Add additional milk as needed. Stir in a pinch of salt to taste.
Brush icing onto Madeleines with a pastry brush. Apply nuts to the edges of Madeleines. Serve immediately. Madeleines are best served the day they're baked.
Pecan pie was my mom’s favorite, but she didn’t bake pies, so I always used to bake her one for Thanksgiving. One year, I made a chocolate version. It was delicious, but let’s just say it wasn’t user friendly. It was gooey and hard to serve. Over the years, it eventually morphed into these Maple Pecan Brownies. The brownie version is still delicious, rich and gooey with toasty pecans, but much more user friendly.
Enjoying Maple Pecan Brownies with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee is a must. Thinking of it brings back memories. I can practically smell my dad brewing the coffee to go with these brownies.
Maple Pecan Brownies
Rich, gooey brownies topped with pecan pie filling
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, overlapping the sides an inch or two. Spray parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined.
Mix in eggs and vanilla, one at a time, until well combined.
Mix in cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
Stir in flour just until combined.
Spread batter into prepared baking pan. Bake just until top is set, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare pecan topping.
When brownie top is set, remove from oven. Gently pour pecan topping around the outer perimeter of brownies, to avoid making brownies sink in the middle. Evenly distribute the pecan topping over the top gently with a spoon.
Return the brownies to the oven and continue baking until the topping is set, about 20-25 minutes. Brownies will stop jiggling and topping will look deep golden brown. Toothpick inserted inside will have a few moist crumbs on it. (If your topping starts to brown too much on the edges before the inside is done, apply aluminum foil around the edges as you would with a pie.)
Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting, about 2- 2 1/2 hours.
Cut into squares, wiping knife between cuts.
In a medium bowl, stir together maple syrup, butter, brown sugar, egg, maple extract and salt until well combined.
Stir in pecans until well coated with maple syrup mixture.