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All kids love these sweet scented cakey cookies called madeleines. But you might be surprised how much they’ll love them if you make them with vegetables. Healthy and delicious, that’s the best.

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Madeleines are traditionally made with lemon zest. For a veggie version, the recipe is the same, just omit the lemon zest and use instead grated beets, raw or roasted, or spinach cooked, well drained, and finely chopped or pureed for a homogeneous color. These veggies give madeleines nice flavors and beautiful non-artificial colors that the French, I discovered this summer, also use to dye their cheeses.

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Their are few things to know and do before you start making this recipe:

  • To obtain that nice bump that characterizes madeleines, you need to refrigerate the batter at least two hours prior to baking. It can stay refrigerated for up to 48 hours.
  • Once you butter and flour the madeleines tray, freeze it until needed.
  • Because of the intricate shape of the molds in the tray, you absolutely need a brush in order to coat all the parts properly.
  • If you are making the classic madeleines with lemon, to get the maximum aroma from the lemon oils, rub the zest against the sugar using the palms of your hands and your fingertips until the sugar absorbs all the flavor.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus a tiny bit extra for greasing the tray
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • Zest of one lemon finely grated (for the classic madeleines)
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 medium skinned raw beet, or oven roasted (Oven roasted root vegetables have a deeper and sweeter flavor), OR 1/2 cup of spinach, boiled and well drained, or 1 cup of finely chopped raw spinach.
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

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Steps:

Brush the madeleines molds with melted butter, then shake in a little flour to coat, tapping out the excess. Freeze the pan until baking time.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the sugar and the eggs until they become lighter in color and volume, about two minutes. Then add the vanilla.

If you are making vegetable madeleines with a vegetable puree, then this is the time to mix in the puree. If you are using grated or chopped raw vegetables, then hold on to them and add them at the end. Fold in the dry ingredients – the flour previously mixed with the baking soda and salt until combined with the wet ingredients. Then pour in the melted butter and mix everything gently until smooth.

Now you have two options, you can cover the bowl and refrigerate at least two hours, or bring the madeleines tray out from the freezer, fill in the molds, cover with plastic, and then refrigerate for at least two hours.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the madeleines tray from the fridge and pop it into the oven. Or, if you have refrigerated just the batter, remove the tray from the freezer, and scoop out about one tablespoon of the batter in the center of each mold of the madeleines tray. Don’t try to smooth it out, it will settle into the shape of the mold in the oven. If you have some batter left, you can use it in a mini-muffin pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until you see that the edges are golden brown. At this point, if you touch the madeleines bump, it shouldn’t sink but it shouldn’t be dry either.

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As soon as the tray is out from the oven, tap it against the working space. The madeleines will fall out without too much trouble. You can use a wooden pick to help, otherwise. Then immediately place them on a wire rack, bump up, until they cool down completely. Once cooled, if you wish, you can dust them with powdered sugar.

Madeleines dry out quickly, so serve them right away or keep them in a glass jar until the kids come back from school.

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