Happy September! Although we’re still weeks away from the end of summer, I know thoughts of fall are already on many minds. Out here in the Bay Area though, the sunny days are just hitting their stride. Short and sunglasses are still out in full force, and it’s peak wedding season up in wine country. Thoughts of golden afternoons up among the vineyards is what led to my latest recipe – if I can’t be there, at least I can get a little taste…
Whole Foods sent me some samples of WholeVine’s grapeskin flours to experiment and play with. Since I haven’t used these flours before, I had to do some online reading to catch up. Grapeskin flour is exactly what it sounds like, a fine milled flour made from the discarded grape skins (also known as pomace) from the winemaking process. The grape skins come from vineyards in Sonoma County, all certified as 100% sustainable. Instead of throwing away these grape skins, WholeVine realized they could be turned into a useable product, and grape skin flour was created.
The most striking thing about the flours is their dramatic earthy hues, which come from the grape skins. As a result, one unexpected reason to get creative with these flours is to add some color to your baked goods. A popular use for these flours is in breads; using some of the darker flours made from cabernet sauvignon or merlot results in some beautiful burgundy-hued loaves.
Because the flour is naturally gluten-free, it generally isn’t advised to use it as a 1:1 substitute for regular all-purpose flour. However, only a few tablespoons can add plenty of dramatic color and flavor to a recipe.
I decided to add some of the Chardonnay flour to my madeleine recipe: the end products were little, intensely-golden niblets that had a bit of mild earthiness from the grape skin flour. I love madeleines, not the least because you have to make the batter ahead of time, so it’s a lovely do-ahead to have madeleine batter on hand and ready to bake for your afternoon tea. I firmly believe madeleines are at their best very fresh from the oven, so take advantage of the batter’s keeping qualities (about 3 days max in the refrigerator) and savor a new batch every day.
These madeleines are soft, buttery, and not super sweet, so I dipped them in a simple almond glaze to take them from teatime to dessert-worthy. Almonds and grapes seemed a natural pairing of two iconic California crops. You don’t need to use the grape skin flour in this recipe, but I found it did add an extra depth of flavor, grounding the usually ethereal madeleines in richness of the vineyards.
Funny admission: I don’t have any full-size madeleine pans. Somehow in all my years of crazed kitchenware acquisition I never added them to my collection, so when I went digging for madeleine molds I realized all I had was this mini mold. The recipe will make a little more than a dozen regular madeleines, but it will make quite a lot more mini ones – enough that you can pop them in your mouth like the most indulgent popcorn ever. I kind of like the higher crust-to-fluffy interior ratio as well. I suppose my final advice is that it never hurts to have as many different size pans on hand as your kitchen cabinets can possibly accommodate.
Thanks to Whole Foods for the opportunity to try WholeVine’s grapeskin flours! Also, I got much good information on WholeVine’s products from the Heritage Cook’s excellent post.
Disclosure: I was provided free product for my use from Whole Foods, but all content in this post is my own.
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-in pieces
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons grapeskin flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2/3 cup (133 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (150 g) confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
For the madeleines:
- Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove. Let cool to just warm.
- Combine flours, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine eggs and sugar in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 6-8 minutes until very light and thick and the batter falls off the beater in ribbons. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
- Sift flour mixture over the egg mixture in three additions. Use a rubber spatula to carefully fold the flour mixture in, trying not to deflate the batter as much as possible.
- Add the butter in two additions, folding in carefully to incorporate.
- Scrape out batter in a container and cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and lightly flour a madeleine mold.
- Fill madeleine mold about 3/4 full. The batter will be thick - there's no need to spread the batter out or flatten it out, as the scooped round shape will help it form the distinctive "hump" when it bakes.
- Bake about 8-10 minutes. until the madeleines are golden brown and dry and springy to the touch.
- Remove from oven and immediately turn out madeleines onto a wire rack. Let cool before glazing.
For the glaze:
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. If it seems too thick, add another teaspoon or two of milk.
- Dip madeleines halfway in glaze and place on wire rack set over a baking sheet or paper towel to let dry.