Madeleines

Madeleines Recipe

I've been hearing about my friend Lanha's madeleine recipe for years now - no exaggeration. Madeleines are her go-to cookie - she makes them for parties, she makes them as gifts, she makes them when people stop by her house to visit, she makes them when the wind changes direction. She will talk your ear off about the delicious scent of the browning butter, she frets about the appropriate amount of lemon zest in each batch, and she will expound on the merits of traditional metal madeleine pans versus newer silicon molds in the quest for the perfect golden scalloped cookie. I was visiting LA this weekend and it was baking school time for me as Lanha showed me first hand how she makes the magic happen (in her famous Dwell-worthy kitchen!)....

I had to ask her, why madeleines? Of all the cookies recipes in the world, why these? She tells me, "I enjoy making madeleines for Silvio (her French husband) because they remind him of his life in France. I was tired of paying $5 for a couple of cookies in boutique delis and decided to try my sister Kaly's fail-safe recipe. Now that I've made the cookies so much, I can whip out several dozen in less than an hour (the recipe may seem daunting at first, but I promise you, it's easy). Madeleines stacked in a tin make great gifts and also, I've never met a person that didn't absolutely love them!"

madeleine recipe

I second all of Lanha's sentiments - I made a batch on my own after my hands-on lesson, and her madeleine recipe came together beautifully. And a big thanks to her sister Kaly for originally passing down the recipe to Lanha. I've made a few changes/tweaks to the instructions for clarity.

My madeleine pan makes tiny, baby madeleines, it was another flea market find for those of you wanting one like it I found one very similar here. I've flipped the madeleines in the photo at the top so you can see their pretty scalloped bellies.

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Madeleine Recipe

Lanha and I both prefer metal pans to the newer silicon molds. My metal pan brings a beautiful golden hue to the cookies, and to be honest I don't like the looks of the silicon molds - all those zany colors. Madeleines look better baking in metal, I promise.

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
powdered sugar

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 grease the madeleine molds - get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour. Lanha uses "cooking spray" with flour to simplify this part.

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. I use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable, it is easier than using a spoon.

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.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • I'm excited to try this madeleine recipe. They are beautiful and look absolutely delicious. I love the story behind this recipe. My favorite recipes are those that come from people who have made the same recipe for years- passionately and with love.

    Kate
  • Balaji -- The substitute for the electric mixer is elbow grease. I don't have one, either, and it makes madeleines a labor of love -- well worth it, but quite a workout on the arms! I actually enjoy my silicone molds, which is rarely the case for me (I almost always prefer more traditional methods and tools). The one I have produces the same teacake as the ones I've achieved with metal molds, but without the need to butter the molds. At all. Not to be ridiculous, but madeleines aren't really "cookies"... they're small cakes. I know, I know, there's no real definition of "cookie", but I thought I'd point it out, because the process is entirely different to most cookie-baking. In this sense, you could definitely bake the batter in a different type of mold (a few people asked)... it would probably be great in small muffin/patty-cake tins. However, a madeleine is only a madeleine when baked in that shape. You can't even call it an alternatively-shaped madeleine... it's just a tea-cake at that point. Finally.. Heidi, could you show us a picture of your non-scalloped sides? The real trick with madeleines is getting that quintessential "bump", which is difficult. The best way I've found is to lower the temperature partially through baking (a pain, especially in an electric oven), which provides an initial burst of a rise, then a slower completion.

    Eva
  • I have been poking on your site for a little over a week now and absolutely love it!! I am at the moment enjoying myself a nice bowl of your homemade muesli which is delicious! Beautiful photos too. My sister will be spending a semester abroad in France next year I will be saving this recipe to make her some in the coming months. I am always inspired when I come here Thanks!

    Christina Todd
  • On your glowing recommendation I will give these a try and maybe I'll finally get what all the fuss is about. I've tried many a madeleine over the years, including from Miette and Bay Breads, and they always just taste like dry cake to me. I've had nothing but good luck with your recipes in the past, so I'll give these a whirl!

    Lisa
  • I adore Madeleines, and I make them often. They are my go to cookie also. I find that Meyer lemons, preferably homegrown are the best. I don't care for silicon pans either. Silpats are another story! I bought my pans from Williams-Sonoma. I have 4 pans in both sizes! When I make Madeleines, it's always at least 6 dozen. Blasphemy or not, I use Cook's powered vanilla. I just love the product. Also I cheat and use cooking spray with flour. I have tried Gale Gand's method of buttering-freezing and repeat of the pans to get a crisper shell. That works well, but I don't really see too much of a difference, but more prep work and time.

    joanne
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I fell in love with madeleines when I lived in Paris for a year in 1992, and have been paying through the nose for them ever since...

    Ray O'Leary
  • The cookies have ridges only on one side. I also prefer the metal trays, they are a little expensive, but I don't think you can substitute them with anything else. Madeleines are a classic, I adore it :-))

    Rumi
  • Ohhh, I haven't made madeleines in ages! I wish I hadn't just made a peach pie, or else I'd whip up a batch. I don't like silicon molds at all, for anything-- I can be stubbornly traditional like that sometimes. Lisa, I'm pretty sure she flipped them just for the sake of the picture. Mine only get the ridges on one side.

    Caroline
  • exquisite! As a french woman, I can tell you: 1) that's a great recipe. 2) I'm fond of your tips 3) I've just ordered your book but it's so long to have it sent from US to France.... I also love your photo tips

    coquillette
  • Thanks for sharing this recipe! Looks easy enough! I need some cookies for a presentation I am giving tonight, so I think I will run into town to pick up the molds. I remember seeing them at a restaurant supply store and never knew what to do with them. I appreciate you taking the time to share these.

    Karen
  • Heidi, Do you prefer the regular pan to the non-stick? I checked out your link and I want to order a pan...but I usually prefer the non-stick version...thoughts please? P.S. I LOVE your cookbook ;-} Gail

    gabbyh
  • MMM,,,, I love this recipe, it sounds mouth watering! Now, is the flour plain, or self-rising? And, I don't have silicone or Madeleine pans, so what would be the best alternative?

    Angela
  • Thnx for the recipe Heidi! I have missed these little babies so much since leaving Singapore where 'Deli France' and a local bakery used to have a steady supply of these everyday :)

    Snehal
  • Thank you! My grandfather have had me looking for good Madeleine recipes for as long as I can remember. Just like for Silvio -It reminds him of France!

    Karin
  • This may be a silly question: How do the cookies get the ridges on both sides? Do they just rise that way? Do you have to flip the cookies in the mold, or is it a two sided mold?

    Lisa
  • is there a substitute for the pans?? i'm asking in this sense: can one use (say) patty cake tins to try the recipe -- and then if it's a success, go and buy the purpose-built pans? thank you, e

    e
  • Is there a substitute for the electric mixer? If I am mixing by hand how much longer should I stir? I am a student, so I can't carry a lot of stuff around when I move (frequently).

    Balaji
  • Awesome, Heidi. Guess what we're making for the family reunion this weekend for Dad's 75th birthday party?! BTW -- how does Lanha's new KitchenAid mixer look? Kaly and I were kind of concerned about the color...

    kiki
  • What a beautiful shot! I agree with you, silicone just doesn't have any style to it. :)

    Garrett
  • I am sad to hear you say that you do not like the silicone molds...especially after hearing that Lahna's husband is French! However, I would agree with you if you are using the molds that you can buy at the variety stores. If you use the kind that French chefs have been using for years, I would imagine that you would change your mind. Because the browning effect with Demarle products is precisely the reason bread artisans and pastry chefs use them almost exclusively! A French chemist, named Guy Demarle invented them for just such a purpose about 40 years ago for his family's bread baking business. The knock off brands in the stores give the real thing a bad name. Contact me if you would like more info. Thanks for taking this post.

    LaVonda
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