For as long as I’ve wanted to make madeleines, I just couldn’t bear, at this point in my life, to spend money on bakeware that I could only use to make one thing. So, I was thrilled to find a rather derelict madeleine pan, though a pan nonetheless, tucked away in a forgotten corner of the kitchen in the house I’ve moved into for the year. It must be fate, or something like it, that I would make these so, with my first free weekend available, I warmed up the oven for its inaugural blog-related use and got out the zester for this recipe.
There’s something to be said about subtle flavors, especially that of citrus and how it can liven and brighten up anything from seafood to soups to cakes and cookies. After chocolate (and oats!), lemons, limes and oranges are my favorite ingredients to find in a recipe.
These cookies are a classic and would warrant enough reason for me to go out and buy a pan just to make them! They are so easy to make, the hardest part being the wait for them to chill in the refrigerator before baking. They come out light and spongey, a perfect seashell mound of lemony cake. Their fluted appearance lends itself to the delicate texture of the cakes but the citrus flavor with a hint of vanilla makes for a decidedly distinct cookie. I’ll spare you the Proustian digressions — just try them out for yourself!
Madeleines, from Savory Sweet Life
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, zested
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1. Sift together flour and baking powder. In a mixer with a whisk attachment at medium-high speed or by hand with a whisk, beat eggs and sugar until thickened and lightened in color, about 2 to 4 minutes.
2. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold-in dry ingredients, then melted butter. Cover batter with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Chill for at least 3 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spoon batter into the molds, filling them almost to the top.
4. Bake on the center rack for 8 to 11 minutes, checking periodically. Remove the madeleines by rapping the pan against the counter or gently running a butter knife around the edges of the cookies. Makes about two dozen.
A surprisingly simple recipe for such a great cookie! Since the recipe only calls for lemon zest, I used the lemon juice from the lemon I zested to make a glaze for the madeleines, just to enhance the lemon flavor of the cookie and to add a little touch of sweetness as well. Making a glaze is simple: to about half a cup of powdered/confectioner’s sugar add about a tablespoon of lemon juice. The consistency and flavor of the glaze can be controlled by adding more or less juice or powdered sugar. I simply dipped one side of the madeleine into the glaze to coat.
My madeleines baked up really quickly so be sure to be very watchful of them while they are in the oven. As soon as they puff up and are firm in the middle, take them out and remove from the pan after just a few seconds to let them cool. Before chilling, the madeleine mixture will be more batter-like but after sitting for three hours in the refrigerator it will be more doughy so once you spoon them into the mold, don’t worry about them not being smooth, they will expand and puff up during baking. Try different variations with the madeleines: substituting orange zest instead of lemon or finely ground almonds.