Traditional Madeleines

This week’s recipe was chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home. I was so excited to see that Madeleines were chosen, as I have been wanting to try them for some time now. After a quick trip to Williams Sonoma to get my pan, I was all set to whip up these delicate, French tea cookies. I found these to be incredibly easy to make – the batter was a cinch to whip together, then a chill in the fridge and filling the pan mold, and into the oven for a short 11 minutes.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t love these. While the texture was very nice, spongey and light, I am not a fan of lemon so I wasn’t thrilled with the overall taste and my overall feeling was just “eh”. All in all, this is a nice delicate cookie, but I would opt for a muffin, scone or biscotti to pair with my hot beverage of choice. Even though Dorie states that these are best eaten the day that they are made (and even, warm from the oven), I would have to respectfully disagree. I thought they were significantly better after a night’s rest in an airtight container.

Traditional Madeleines

Yield: Makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies

Prep Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 to 13 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours


2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

2. Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines. (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)

3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan (or pans), give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. (my silicone needed the prep) Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.

4. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven's heat will take care of that. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.

5. If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pan(s) before baking.

6. Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioners' sugar.

Serving: Serve the cookies when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature, with tea or espresso.

Storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If you must store them, wrap them airtight and freeze them; they'll keep for up to 2 months.

(Source: Dorie Greenspan "Baking: From My Home to Yours" pages 166-168)


39 Responses to “Traditional Madeleines”

  1. Tammy on May 19, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    YOur madelines look gorgeous, but I do agree – they are a bit plain for me


  2. rainbowbrown on May 19, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Well, that’s too bad that you weren’t thrilled with them, but at least they were easy 🙂 They look pretty.


  3. Gretchen Noelle on May 19, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    How funny, I definitely thought they were better the next day. I left out the lime as I knew I just didn’t want the citrus flavor. They were sort of simple, but mine were like mini muffins and they just kept popping into my mouth. I liked them in my coffee and tea too.


  4. Cheryl on May 19, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Sorry you didn’t love them. They’re beautiful, at least!


  5. Megan on May 19, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    I agree – if I wanted “cake-like”, I’d eat cake, muffin, etc. But fun to make and thankfully, not a huge quantity!!


  6. mimi on May 19, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    sorry they didn’t strike your fancy, but they look great! i really like madeleines so i’ll eat them even two days old! 😉


  7. kim on May 19, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    yours look perfect! i didn’t get to try mine the day after, because they were already gone 😉


  8. Ulrike aka ostwestwind on May 20, 2008 at 12:06 am

    I agree with you, the recipe isn’t the traditional madeleine recipe, they should be a little “crisp” after baking. And they are flat :-), but they look good!


  9. peabody on May 20, 2008 at 3:39 am

    Maybe make them with orange or lime zest next time.
    They turned out lovely though.


  10. noskos on May 20, 2008 at 6:28 am

    They turned out very nice!


  11. lemontartlet on May 20, 2008 at 6:51 am

    It always gets me how perfect you make everything look. These could be the pic in any fancy cookbook. They make me jealous, because every time I dust with powdered sugar it looks like a freak snowstorm happened!


  12. Caitlin on May 20, 2008 at 7:16 am

    I’m sorry you didn’t love them, but maybe a dunk in something would help? These were definitely on the plain side.


  13. April on May 20, 2008 at 7:41 am

    They look great! Even though you didn’t like them, they still looked very pretty!


  14. Bumblebutton on May 20, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Very pretty. There is always next week!


  15. Helen on May 20, 2008 at 8:45 am

    I agree – they seemed a bit of a letdown – just a bit’ ‘whatever!’ compared to previous weeks! Yours look great tho! Hx


  16. Amy on May 20, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy them! They look beautiful, though!


  17. Heather on May 20, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    They look great! The shape looks nice too!


  18. Kate on May 20, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    But now you have the skills you can adapt them to make them less lemony!


  19. Melissa on May 20, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    They look wonderful even if you didn’t like them!


  20. Sharon - Butcher, Baker...... on May 20, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Oh! too bad you didn’t like them.


  21. Marie on May 20, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I think your madeleines are picture perfect even if you didn’t like them. I didn’t make madeleines as I didn’t have the pan so made the orange blueberry muffin recipe instead, which were great!


  22. Jacque on May 20, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Sorry you weren’t in love. They look nice, though.


  23. Rebecca on May 20, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I thought they were better after a day or two, too. Straight out of the oven, kinda meh.


  24. Lori on May 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Ours never had a chance to sit overnight they were eaten all that same night. OMG we went crazy. Sorry to ehar you do not like lemon. Me on the other hand. Chocolate and lemon are my favorite dessert flavors.


  25. Mara on May 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    flufftastic…nice pictures….!!!


  26. Dianne on May 20, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Sorry they were a little bland for you, but your pictures look great!


  27. Garrett on May 20, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Yours look sooo delicate, so soft and light. Do you like orange zest? Perhaps you could simply substitute the zest of some fruit that you like, instead of lemon.


  28. carrie on May 21, 2008 at 6:57 am

    It’s unfortunate that you were disappointed in their taste. They look beautiful.


  29. CB on May 21, 2008 at 10:21 am

    What about changing out the lemon zest for orange zest? I saw a couple TWDers do that and now I am intrigued to try it again! ps. Glad to have you back in the kitchen. Don’t ever go on vacation again, k? thanks. 😉


  30. Chelle on May 21, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions – I do like orange much better than lemon, but aside from the flavor I just found these to be rather “eh” overall. I’ll stick to my “heavier” things like muffins, scones and biscotti 🙂


  31. Amber on May 21, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    They look awesome, I am sorry to hear that you did not love them. To each their own, right? 🙂 I would still like to make them (sans lemon) just to say that I made them and to figure out if I like them or not. 🙂


  32. Jaime on May 22, 2008 at 12:08 am

    they look great; sorry you didn’t like them much


  33. Robin on May 22, 2008 at 5:26 am

    Sorry you didn’t love them but they look so pretty!


  34. mari on May 22, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Just think of it as one less baked good you have to resist! 😉


  35. Laura on May 22, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    You have to leave the lemon out silly (bleh lemon)! That is what i did and I LOVED them. At least they look great;)


  36. Dolores on May 22, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I had the same experience you did… I found them MUCH better after a day’s rest. Great job!


  37. LyB on May 23, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Well, they certainly look delicious! And I quite liked them the next day too! 🙂


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