Classic Madeleines

?She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called 'petites madeleines', which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim's shell....... An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses...?

That's how Marcel Proust described these delectable shell-shaped beauties.  What he failed to mention was how incredibly addictive they are.  I'm almost ashamed to admit that most of my madeleines don't survive their ?cooling? stage once they leave the oven.  Fair is fair -- don't say you haven't been warned.
Makes approximately 2 dozen madeleines
(Can be made ahead of time and frozen.

175g butter, melted and cooled
245g all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
4 eggs
200g granulated sugar
2 tsps good quality vanilla extract
3 tbsps ground almonds
Grease the madeleine tray with butter and dust with flour.
Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
Beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. I usually do this in my Kitchen Aid mixer but a handheld mixer should work just fine.
Add the vanilla extract to the cooled butter.
Fold the flour through the eggs and sugar, then fold in the butter and vanilla and finally the ground almonds.
Fill the madeleine shells ¾ full and pop in fridge for about an hour.
Preheat your oven to 190C and bake the madeleines for about 8-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the tiny cakes spring back when gently pressed in the center.
Cool (if you have the willpower to do so) on a wire rack before serving.

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