Cooking Spain Region By Region: Aragon: Malenas: Aragon-style Magdelenas

"Rain, Rain,go away, Come again another day" as the children´s nursery rhyme goes but to tell you the truth I don´t actually mind the rain....too much! This weekend has been pretty overcast and rainy and it appears as if summer is coming to an end and autumn is approaching. However, I for one am glad that the summer heat is over. I like rainy days,spent indoors with your family,cuddling up together and watching TV with a blanket round you and drinking hot chocolate and tea. It also is much more appealing to bake especially if it´s raining...perfect baking weather!

 I wasn´t convinced as to whether I´d like this particular Aragon delicacy, Malenas or Aragon-style Magdelenas, as I´m not a big fan of two of the main ingredients, honey and orange blossom water but I decided to give them a go, only to be pleasantly surprised. They are very distinct-tasting buns with an exotic but tasty flavour and have a lovely, spongy texture.As they don´t contain sugar but are sweetened naturally through the honey, they are not oversweet and are probably a bit healthier too! They are also very simple and quick to make,however I have made them twice nice and have failed to achieve the peak that magdelenas usually have...not really sure as to why but peak or no peak they still taste good!

Malenas (Aragon-style magdelenas) Makes about 12
150g plain flour
150g honey
75g unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 tbsp orange blossom water

1.Preheat the oven to around 180ºC and line a cupcake mould with paper cases.
2. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks, then mix the egg yolks with the honey.
3. Add the butter and orange blossom water and mix till combined.
4. Add the flour gradually, mixing after each addition till all the lumps have gone and the batter is smooth.
5.Whisk the egg whites till they reach the stiff peak stage and then carefully fold it into the batter taking care not to knock the air out, till it looks spongy.
6.Spoon the batter into the cases filling them till they are just over the half full mark, lower the temperature to around 170-160ºC (I made these twice,first time I baked them around 160ºC and I think they turned out to be more spongy,the second time I tried baking them at a slightly higher temperature to try and get more of a peak but I think it overbaked them slightly as they seemed a little drier...the original recipe doesn´t give a temperature but says to bake them at a medium temperature)
7. I only baked them for between 15-20 minutes as I thought they were ready despite the fact that the recipe said 35 minutes...they should be a golden brown and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted.

One thing I have to warn you about is that they don´t stay spongy for very long and soon start to dry out so either eat them all the day you bake them or freeze half a batch to eat another day.

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