Proust’s famous remembrance of the madeleine misses something profoundly important about these cookies. Madeleines are about savoring – but not just the end result. Madeleines also require savoring the process of making them. Madeleines require just a bit of patience, of enjoying the process of browning the butter, of beating the eggs, of buttering and flouring the pan oh so carefully to make sure you get all the ridges in each scallop. They are about savoring the image of the batter sitting in the madeleine tins before they make their way into the oven, and of waiting for them to cool once they have come out of the oven. Madeleines are about making that pot of tea and sitting down with the plate of madeleines that have just been dusted with powdered sugar and the perfectly brewed cup of tea and then finally, savoring each cake-like morsel.
½ cup unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon honey, plus more for drizzling
½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for greasing the pan
½ cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the madeleine pan and dust with flour, removing excess flour. Melt the butter unsalted butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Throw in the whole cloves. Cook until brown specks form on the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 4 minutes. Set browned butter aside and remove cloves.
Using electric mixer, beat eggs and salt. Then add ½ cup powdered sugar and ½ cup flour and beat. Place honey in small microwave-safe bowl and warm for 5 to 10 seconds. Add the orange juice and orange zest and then beat the mixture into batter. Add browned butter and beat to blend. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each prepared madeleine mold.
Bake madeleines until golden brown tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in mold then gently tap madeleines out of molds. Place on rack to cool. Dust madeleines with powdered sugar and drizzle with honey, if desired.