Cookies, Dessert

Classic French Madeleines Recipe

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Madeleines are bite-sized French cookies with a buttery center and crispy edges characterized by the shell shape and signature hump.

Delicate, with a subtle hint of lemon and vanilla, is the perfect treat to serve with a cup of tea.

WHAT ARE MADELEINES:     

Madeleines are tiny shell-shaped sponge cakes originating in the region of Lorraine in northeastern France. They are one of the most popular French desserts worldwide and are often consumed right out of the oven dipped in coffee or tea. French author Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922) played a significant role in popularizing the Madeleines globally. Within his renowned masterpiece, A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search Of Lost Time), the protagonist immerses a petite Madeleine into a teacup, triggering an immediate journey back to cherished memories of their early years. This widely-known occurrence, called the “Madeleine episode,” has become a touchstone in French literary circles when discussing spontaneous recollections from the past.

THE RECIPE: 

The recipe for madeleines is very simple and requires just a few ingredients that anybody has at home. However, I’d love to pay attention to some key points, like why it’s crucial to chill the batter before baking and how to get their signature bumps. 

The mold: To make traditional French madeleine, we need the characteristic shell-shaped mold; an infinite variety is available on Amazon, made in different materials and sizes. Get a two-pack nonstick pan ( in this way, you’ll get 24 madeleines, perfect for this recipe). 

There is also a silicone mold, but I’m not a huge fan of it because it is meant to be used with a tray underneath, which could create a problem in getting the perfect browning all over.  

Chilling the batter: Madeleines are easily recognizable for their signature bumps, and I found an amazing trick to get it every single time.  

Once you made the batter, put it in a piping bag and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The contrast between the cold batter and the hot oven creates a more pronounced hump.

Baking method: Next day, preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C, brush the mold with melted butter, and dust with flour. Pipe the batter without overfilling and pump it into the oven. Bake the madeleines at 425°F/220°C for the first 3 minutes, then turn the oven off for another 10. Turn the oven back on to 320°F/160°C and finish to bake another 3 minutes. 

This way of baking help raise the madeleines and ensure the inside is perfectly baked.

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE CLASSIC FRENCH MADELEINES:     

Flour: When making madeleines or any other sponge cake, it is recommended to use low-gluten flour like all-purpose or cake flour.

Butter: The recipe calls for very few ingredients; a good quality butter with at least 82% fat can make a difference. Always use unsalted to be able to control the salt content.

Baking powder: Help the batter rise, be sure to check the expiration date.

Eggs: Large eggs, always at room temperature.

Sugar: Granulated sugar for this one.

Lemon: Freshly grated lemon and orange zest are the perfect addition to this buttery sponge cake.

Salt: A hint of salt help balance out the overall flavor of the recipe. 

STEP 1:

Melt the butter on the stove on medium heat or microwave for 30 seconds, and let it cool at room temperature.

STEP 2: 

Mix room-temperature eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and freshly grated lemon zest into a medium bowl using a whisk.

STEP 3: 

Sift all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.

STEP 4:  

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk until no streaks of flour remain. 

STEP 5:  

Add melted butter to the mix(butter should be at a temperature of 120°F/50°C to avoid cooking the eggs) and whisk until combined.

STEP 6: 

Pour the mix into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the batter rest in the fridge overnight or, better, for 24 hours. 

STEP 7: 

Next day, preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C, brush the madeleine mold with melted butter, and lightly dust in with the flour. 

STEP 8: 

Take the batter from the fridge and put it into a pastry bag. Fill each mold cavity until 2/3 and place it into the oven middle rack.  

STEP 9: 

Bake the madeleine for 3 minutes, then turn the oven off and bake another 8 minutes.Turn the oven back on to 320°F/160C and bake another 3/4 minutes or until the madeleines are perfectly golden brown.

STEP 10:

Place the tray on a wire rack and remove the madeleines using a small offset spatula. Dust it with powdered sugar and serve still warm.

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS:    

Madeleine is best eaten on the same day or, even better, just out of the oven. However, you can store leftover madeleines in an airtight container for up to three days.

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Classic French madeleines recipe

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: madeleines
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 12 hours
Servings: 24 madeleines
Author: Luca Frau

Equipment

  • 2 madeleine molds
  • oven
  • bowl
  • whisk
  • Rubber spatula
  • pastry bag

Ingredients

  • 170 g large eggs(around 3 eggs)
  • 170 g granulated sugar
  • 10 g honey
  • 170 g unsalted butter
  • 170 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Melt the butter on the stove on medium heat or microwave for 30 seconds, and let it cool at room temperature.
  • Mix room-temperature eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and freshly grated lemon zest into a medium bowl using a whisk.
  • Sift all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk until no streaks of flour remain.
  • Add melted butter to the mix(butter should be at a temperature of 120°F/50°C to avoid cooking the eggs) and whisk until combined.
  • Pour the mix into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the batter rest in the fridge overnight or, better, for 24 hours.
  • Next day, preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C, brush the madeleine mold with melted butter, and lightly dust in with the flour.
  • Take the batter from the fridge and put it into a pastry bag. Fill each mold cavity until 2/3 and place it into the oven middle rack.
  • Bake the madeleine for 3 minutes, then turn the oven off and bake another 8 minutes.Turn the oven back on to 320°F/160C and bake another 3/4 minutes or until the madeleines are perfectly golden brown.
  • Place the tray on a wire rack and remove the madeleines using a small offset spatula. Dust it with powdered sugar and serve still warm.
Tried this recipe?Mention @cheflucafrau or tag #cheflucafrau!

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