I’m always on the hunt for a new cookie or treat to fall in love with (hello sweet tooth!). I never knew you could fall so hard, so fast though. One bite of these lemon Madeleines and that was it – they were getting a toothbrush at the sink and a drawer in my dresser (if I had one). It was love at first bite.
These are considered a French pastry, but are more like a bite size little cake. A dusting of icing sugar is all they need to finish them off once they’re out of the oven, and if you can eat them warm, well, if you have you know.
Madeleines are also a “plan ahead” cookie. You need to refrigerate the dough for at least three hours before baking it, but it will keep in the fridge up to two days. I know what you’re thinking – these cookies are starting to be more trouble than they’re worth. I promise you – PROMISE YOU – that isn’t true.
There is one other thing that you’ll need though to make Madeleines – a Madeleine pan. These aren’t treats that you can just drop onto a tray. Because it’s more of a cake batter, they need those little shells to bake into. I’m really partial to aluminum baking pans. Over the holidays I actually finally got rid of a bunch of my old non-stick stuff and switched over to almost all aluminum. Baked goods bake a lot more evenly and level in aluminum pans, and they don’t over brown. Just give them a good greasing and your Madeleines will slip right out (I just use this Pam baking spray).
The other thing to be aware of is not to over fill your trays (this took some trial and error, they still tasted delicious though, so no worries!). You don’t want to completely fill the trays because they will bake up like a cake. Treat them like a cupcake and only fill the moulds 3/4 of the way, smoothing the top a little. Pop them in the oven and 12 minutes later you’ll be itching to pop one in your mouth!
Classic Lemon Madeleines
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup white sugar
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 4 large eggs (room temperature)
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled (1 1/2 sticks, 12 tbsp)
- icing sugar for dusting
- Whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Put the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and use your fingers to rub it together (this gets all that lemon flavour in the the sugar and helps incorporate it throughout the cookies evenly). Add the eggs and whip using the whisk attachment on medium-high until thick and pale yellow (3-5 minutes). Beat in the vanilla.
- Take the bowl off your mixer and use a spatula to gently fold in the flour mixture. Go slow to keep your Madeleines light and airy, making sure no dry streaks of flour remain. Now gently fold in the melted butter.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap right against the batter, to keep it from forming a film on top. Cover the top of the bowl with another piece of plastic wrap, then place the batter in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but up to 2 days. You can transfer the batter to another dish before covering with wrap to save space in the fridge.
- When you're ready to start baking, preheat your oven to 400ºF with a rack in the middle position. Grease your Madeleine pans, then add roughly 1 tbsp of batter to each shell (fill 3/4 of the way up). Smooth the tops as best you can.
- Bake for roughly 12 minutes, until the edges are golden and the tops spring back.
- Flip out onto cooling racks until just warm, then dust with icing sugar.
These are best eaten the same day they are made.
This recipe is very slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s, found in her book Baking, From my home to yours.
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