Delicate and delicious, French madeleines are little shell-shaped tea cakes that pair perfectly with coffee or tea. Madeleines [mad-uh-LEHN] were a favorite childhood treat of mine. Even store-bought ones were great; I could eat them by the bagful. The lemon zest gives them a subtle citrusy flavor that reminds me of lemon poppy seed muffins without the poppyseed.
Note: You’ll need a special madeleine pan that can be purchased at most kitchen specialty stores for under $10.
Madeleine Recipe from 101 Cookbooks
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan
Special equipment: A madeleine baking pan, regular or small
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it’s brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) – you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling.
While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to butter the pans. Dust with flour.
Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until thick – you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume – approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed).
Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together.
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 -3/4 full.
Bake the madeleines for 12 – 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.
Makes 2 -3 dozen regular madeleines.