Madeleine cookies are classic French pastries that are cake-like and a little spongy. They can be made in all kinds of flavors, though traditionally they are flavored with vanilla, a little lemon, and a light dusting of powdered sugar.
How to Make Madeleines
Start by beating eggs, vanilla, and salt in an electric mixer.
Then, while the mixer is still running, slowly add in granulated sugar and brown sugar.
To do that, raise the speed of the mixer to high, and beat the eggs for ten minutes or until the batter reaches the ribbon stage. This is where it falls off of the blade in a thick ribbon that sits on the batter for a few seconds before slowly flattening out.
Now that you’ve incorporated so much air into the batter, you don’t want to risk losing it. Every other step of this recipe must be done gently and by hand.
Fold in the flour a little bit at a time. Even though you are being gentle, make sure to be thorough. The flour must be completely incorporated into the batter.
This is also where you can incorporate other flavors into the batter like spices, lemon zest, orange zest, or even matcha powder.
Unlike most cakes and cookies where the butter is added early in the recipe, it’s the very last ingredient added in madeleines. You can use regular melted butter or browned butter; I prefer the flavor of madeleines made with browned butter.
When you add it to the batter, it should be melted but not hot to the touch.
Having the correct pan that gives you the iconic shell shape is a big part of what makes a madeleine unique. The ridges get crispy while the interior stays nice and soft. I love baking my madeleines in Silpat’s mini madeleine pan.
I recommend using the two spoon method to fill the molds. Put the batter onto one spoon and use the other spoon to push it into a well of the mold.
Fill each madeleine well about 3/4 full.
You want to be careful not to over-bake madeleines. They are done when the outside starts to look golden and they bounce back when you lightly touch them. I recommend checking for doneness at 11 minutes.
Remove the hot madeleines from the mold and set them on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
Dust them with powdered sugar and store in an airtight container.
Madeleine cookies are best served on the same day, but they will still be great for several days – especially dunked in coffee!
A popular way to serve madeleines is to dip them in chocolate. To do so, dip just the ends of cooled madeleines into melted chocolate (read up on how to temper chocolate so that the chocolate will be nice and shiny when it sets) and put them on a cooling rack to dry.
You can also make a cookie tree with madeleines that is a beautiful dessert centerpiece!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup cake flour not self-rising
- Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat, stirring periodically. First you'll see large bubbles, then you will see smaller bubbles, and then it will start to brown. Remove from the heat as soon as it starts to brown and let it cool to room temperature while you prepare the batter.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla extract, and salt until fully combined.
- Beating constantly, gradually add sugar and brown sugar. Continue beating for ten minutes at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and ribbons form in the bowl when the blade is lifted.
- Add cake flour into egg mixture 1/3 at a time, gently folding by hand after each addition.
- Pour melted browned butter around the edge of the batter and quickly but gently fold into the batter,
- Fill Silpat's mini madeleine molds 3/4 full using two spoons - one to get a spoonful of batter from the bowl, and one to scrape the batter off of the spoon and into a mini madeleine well.
- Bake 11 minutes, or until cakes are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip. Then, set on a cooling rack to cool.
- Serve the madeleines warm and dusted in powdered sugar, dip them in melted chocolate, or use them to make a madeleine tower.