Soft, buttery and full of lemon flavor, the classic French madeleine is one of my favorite sweet treats. When I was in college I was a hostess at an restaurant in Chicago called one sixtyblue. After the check was presented to a table there, each guest was served a single madeleine on a tiny white plate compliments of the pastry chef. The madeleines were plentiful so every single night I worked I would sneak off to the kitchen at least once to devour a few. And so began my love affair with this delicious, cake-like cookie. Madeleines are very simple to make. I’ve tried about a half dozen recipes over the years but this is the one that always results in perfection. I made a batch a couple of weeks ago and above is a picture of the final result. Thanks to Austin Irving for taking photos of my baked goods!
Classic French Madelines
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Makes approx 2 dozen
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cups), melted, plus additional for greasing your pan
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 large eggs plus 2 additional egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping teaspoon of sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons of freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons total)
Before you begin: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your madeleine pan using melted butter. Set aside.
Step 1: Grate your lemon zest. I like a lot of lemon flavor but you can adjust the amount of zest based on your preference. To grate my lemon I use a nifty citrus grater by Microplane that I picked up at Williams-Sonoma. Tip: You can do this step in advance. Just refrigerate your zest in an airtight storage container until you’re ready to use.
Step 2: Put your eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest to a bowl and mix on high speed using an electric mixer for 4-5 minutes until thickened and smooth. If you are using a hand mixer, mix for about 6 minutes. Next, mix in the butter, about 1 minute.
Step 3: Fold in the flour using a spatula, then let the batter rest approximately 20 minutes.
Step 4: Spoon batter into greased pan filling each mold approx 3/4 full. Bake for 7-10 minutes, rotating once halfway through baking. Cookies are done when tester inserted in center comes out clean and edges are golden. Invert madeleines onto wire rack and let cool.
Step 5: Dust madeleines with confectioners sugar and enjoy!
Stylish Serving Tip: Small desserts like madeleines look great on a footed platter or a cake stand. I served mine on a vintage glass cake stand purchased on ebay which you can see in the photo above. Below are two great options for serving your madeleines and other desserts. On the left is a chic hand-blown glass cake stand with pewter bead edging and base by Arte Italica from Neiman Marcus, $208. On the right is a budget-friendly glass cake stand with dome lid from Martha Stewart Everyday for Kmart, $16.99.