Light and buttery with golden crispy edges and a wonderful lemon-vanilla flavor, these are the madeleines of your dreams! Absolute perfection!
Madeleines are one of my all-time favorite treats. Simple yet elegant, individually portioned with those ridges and charming seashell shape—what’s not to adore? Plus they somehow manage to teeter between cookie and cake, allowing you to get the best of both worlds with every bite! A lifetime ago, after I cashed my first paycheck from my very first theater job, I went into this fancy bakeware shop in NYC and treated myself to a madeleine pan—should’ve known then that the pan would stick around longer then my performing career!! I’ve already shared these Bittersweet Chocolate Madeleines which are exceptionally yummy but just realized that I never posted this classic version.
If you’re thinking that making homemade madeleines is just “too hard”, think again. The truth is that they are actually pretty easy—not much more difficult to whip up than a simple cookie, so not sure why they’ve gotten that intimidating rap. You just want to use a light hand so as not to over mix them which would result in a tough, drier crumb. And while you really, really want to serve these asap after baking, what you can do is prepare the batter a day or two ahead, let it hang out in the fridge and then just bake when you’re ready, which means that you could wake up one morning and have fresh madeleines for breakfast. So French!
And with Mother’s Day looming, I'm thinking that a batch of these with a cup of tea would be a pretty perfect way to say “thanks mom!”.
Makes about 3 dozen
You will need at least one standard Madeleine pan for this
Prep Time: 20-25 minutes; Bake Time: 10-12 minutes
- 1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter (14 tablespoons) melted and slightly cooled, plus additional melted butter for greasing molds
- 1 ⅔ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- The zest of one large lemon
- 1 vanilla bean, split down the middle
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons mild honey
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Center oven rack and preheat oven to 350º F. If you have more than one madeleine pan you can brush them with the extra melted butter, making sure you get in all the little nooks and crannies. If you only have one pan (like me) you will have to wash, dry and rebutter the pan for each batch. Set prepared pan aside.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl and then whisk in the zest.
3. Into another large bowl, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean (you can save the pod and make vanilla sugar with it if you like) and add in the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar until they are well distributed. Whisk in the eggs, milk, honey and 1 ¾ sticks of melted and cooled butter. Add the mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture and fold in until just combined.
4. Spoon rounded tablespoons of the batter into the molds, only filling them ⅔ full. If you overfill them they won’t have that classic madeleine shape. Bake one pan at a time for 10-12 minutes, turning the pan halfway around during the baking process until cakes are golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack and let cool a bit. Then dust with powdered sugar and serve.
5. These are best when eaten soon after baking but we have reheated them in a low oven for a few minutes and they were still pretty darn good. Also, you can prepare the batter and store it overnight in the fridge for easy morning bakes.
Note: Recipe adapted from an old issue of Gourmet Magazine.