This Neapolitan Madeleines recipe was born out of a mundane trip to Trader Joe’s. I was trolling the nut aisle and I came across an unassuming section of freeze dried fruits. I spontaneously bought a couple of the lighter than air, space food style bags of berries without an agenda. When I got home and zipped open the bag, a messy cloud of dusty berries spilled out to display the most beautiful, bold, bubble gum, teeny-bopper pink imaginable. The deep pink space dust sprung my sprockets and gave me an exhilarating urge to get my MTV The Grind on.
I ground up the freeze dried strawberries using a muddler and a mixing bowl. I crushed the strawberries like a 90s teen girl crushed over Luke, Leo and Leto in issues of Tiger Beat Magazine. The berries ground into a fine pink powder in a shade pretty enough to leave a bubble gum pink kiss on Johnny Depp’s pale, sliced-up cheek on an Edward Scissorhands movie poster.
Daydreaming about those 90s hunks and strawberry bubblegum made me nostalgic for the popular flavors I loved as an 80s/90s kid. When I think of strawberry flavor, it conjures up memories of those complimentary little scoops of Neapolitan ice cream in tiny footed silver bowls, served at the end of every meal at those “Italian” restaurants popular back then. I painfully endured a drawn out, sit down dinner with my excruciatingly boring and embarrassing family in anticipation of the grand finale of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry swirled ice cream.
Waiting for dessert to arrive was almost as painful as that achey, lovesick feeling of sitting home by the phone on Friday night waiting for my Jr. High crush to call. Unlike the calls, the ice cream always came.
Why choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry when you can have all 3?
Harnessing that mix of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors and imbuing it with those overwhelmingly intense feelings that accompany puppy love, I came up with a swoon-worthy recipe for Neapolitan Madeleines.
- Vanilla is a nice baseline. If it’s good, the rest will be great. So using a high quality pure vanilla extract is key to the solid flavor base.
- Strawberry can come across as tasting artificial. But the freeze dried strawberries in this recipe pop with real strawberry flavor!
- Chocolate can only be as good as it’s base. Using a quality dark unsweetened cocoa powder will give your Madeleines rich depth in flavor and color.
While mixing up the batter, I was feeling insecure about how the recipe would turn out and worried the colors and flavors might fade into wallflowers. But their natural beauty and flavorful personality came through and they turned out to be the Homecoming Queen of baby cakes. The playful layers of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry are like a bad boy, football player, and sensitive nerd type all wrapped up into one sweet little cake.
I love a good Madeleines recipe and these Neapolitan Madeleines have my heart. The spongy softness of the cake-like consistency laced with a triple thread of classic flavors is crushworthy. They’ve got just the right mix of sweetness to richness with a light and airy bite.
These Neapolitan Madeleines have me crushing hard and wanting more. If only I knew how to bake, had developed this recipe (and breasts), wasn’t painfully shy, was a supermodel, and was about 10 years older that time I met Johnny Depp when I was 12. Maybe, just maybe, this recipe would have stolen his dark and mysterious heart. <3Print
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 36
Spongy little shell shaped Madeleines get three times as sweet in these chocolate, vanilla & strawberry layered Neapolitan Madeleines. A rainbow of flavors and colors, kissed with a honey glaze.
- large eggs at room temperature – 4
- granulated sugar – 1 cup
- pure vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
- all purpose flour – 2 cups
- baking powder – 2 teaspoons
- fine sea salt – 1 teaspoon
- unsalted butter at room temperature – 1 cup
- dark unsweetened cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons
- freeze dried berries – 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup
- honey – 1/4 cup
- water – 1-2 tablespoons
- Using a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder or a muddler or wooden spoon and a mixing bowl, crush the freeze dried berries until they turn into a fine dust. Sift into a bowl and set aside. You want about 3 tablespoons of strawberry powder. Sift the cocoa into another small mixing bowl and set aside.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the eggs in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed, adding the sugar a little at a time, until all the sugar is incorporated. Turn the mixer to high and whisk until the eggs have doubled in volume, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and stir in the vanilla by hand, followed by the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Divide the batter evenly among 3 separate bowls, a kitchen scale will help you get precise measurements. Add the sifted strawberry powder to 1 bowl and stir until the color has fully mixed in. Add the cocoa powder to another bowl of batter and stir until the color has fully mixed. Leave the 3rd bowl as plain vanilla.
- Cover the bowls and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove and reserve 1/4 cup (4 TB) of the butter for brushing the pans. Allow the butter to cool for 20-30 minutes.
- Stir the 1/4 cup (4 TB) butter into each of the 3 batters until smooth. Cover the batter and allow to rest for an additional 30 minutes or up to an hour.
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Transfer the batters into 3 separate ziplock baggies and make a small snip on the corner tip of each one, just big enough to gently squeeze the batter out in a smooth ribbon.
- Brush madeleine molds with remaining melted butter. Fill each indentation in the molds three-quarters full with batter, layering each of the 3 flavors horizontally in each shell. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to distribute the batter evenly.
- Bake until the edges begin to turn golden brown and the centers have puffed up, about 8 to 10 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, the madeleines are done. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for about 3 minutes, and then tip them out onto a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, whisk 1/4 cup with 1-2 tablespoons of water to make a watered down honey glaze.
- Once the madeleines have slightly cooled down, use a pastry brush to gently brush them with honey glaze.
- Allow the glaze to set, then serve with tea or nice bottle of Rosé.
Victoria Walters says
Have you ever tried making savory Madeleines? I am trying to figure out how to use the pans to make bread for an appetizer but I want them to be that shape and I’m not sure what recipe to use !
That’s so funny you should ask. I was contemplating this just the other day and considering a black pepper, pecorino and herb version. They don’t use a ton of sugar so you could definitely omit it (or most of it) and possibly replace with the sugar with a finely grated, hard Italian cheese. I also wonder if a creamy goat cheese or mascarpone might be nice. Now that I know someone else was on the same track, I want to try even more! I will give it a go soon and let you know how it turns out! Let me know if you experiment with this concept, I’d love to hear what you come up with! Great minds… 😀
Victoria Walters says
tried them out with a little help from Williams Sonoma ! http://forkandcrumb.com/2016/03/16/savory-madeleines/ absolutely delicious, I’ll have to try them with a soft cheese next ( I was too nervous as this was my first try at madeleines). Thanks for the inspiration and help !
Oh wow Victoria, these look and sounds amazing! Glad to hear they came out so yummy! I can’t wait to try a savory version, I will let you know when I do! Beautiful work, thanks for sharing. xoxo