Classic Madeleines


Madeleines exist at the point where my love of all things French intersects with my love of pretty baking tins. Light and lemony, they tend to disappear quickly amid oohs and aahs. I really can’t take credit for how fantastic they look, with the tin itself responsible for their delicate appearance, but hey, what non-bakers don’t know won’t hurt ’em.

Unlike cooking, baking is a very precise art and I don’t bake often enough to experiment with or adapt a recipe, especially one as  thoughtful and well-written as Dorie Greenspan’s madeleine recipe in Paris Sweets.  Although I will provide the recipe, I highly recommend picking up her beautiful book.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp vanilla
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside. Beat the egg and sugar together with an electric or stand mixer for a few minutes until well beaten. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and beat to combine. With a spatula, fold in the flour and baking powder. Fold in the melted butter. Place a layer of plastic wrap on top of the batter and refrigerate for at least three hours, and up to two days.

Generously butter the tin (even if it’s non-stick) and spoon the batter into the molds, about 1/3 full. Bake for about 10 minutes in a 400F oven, until lightly golden and springy.

Remove from tin by running a knife around the edge of the cookies and cool on a wire rack.