These madeleines with lemon from The Gourmet Cookbook are buttery, cakey, crisp at the edges, and have a hint of vanilla and lemon. The perfect thing for dunking.
As author Ruth Reichl says, the madeleine “launched a thousand memories—and a literary masterpiece—for Marcel Proust.” One nibble and you’ll understand why this crisp-edged, tender-on-the-inside French creation lingered in Proust’s mind. It does in ours, too.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Where to Find a Madeleine Pan
Sorta goes without saying, but for this recipe you’ll need a madeleine pan, which is a metal mold with scallop-shaped indentations that result in madeleine-shaped cakey cookies. You can find the pans at just about any cookware store and, natch, at countless online purveyors.
- Madeleine pan(s)
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest preferably organic
- 1 cup all-purpose flour plus more for the pan
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly, plus more for the pan
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Generously butter and flour a madeleine pan with indentations that measure 3 inches by 1 1/4 inches and tap out any excess flour.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl just until blended. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Add the lemon zest and flour and beat just until blended. Gradually add the cooled melted butter in a slow, steady stream, beating just until blended. Spoon 1 tablespoon madeleine batter into each indentation in the madeleine pan.
- Bake until the madeleines are puffed and golden brown, 12 to 16 minutes. Let the madeleines cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then gently remove the cookies and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the madelines with confectioners' sugar just before serving. (The cookies can be kept at room temperature for up to 1 day. Best to dust them with sugar only just before serving.)
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Some madeleine recipes require the batter to sit a while. Some require complicated procedures. This recipe is simple and with a minimal number of ingredients. And the flavor is good with a light lemon scent.
The batter made about 2 standard madeleine pans of cookies. Because I’ve made madeleine recipes many times, I’d suggest that you take seriously the buttering and flouring of the pan. However, you can use spray oil. Just don’t skip the flour, even if you use the baking spray that has flour in it. I use a sifter to flour the pan and it makes for an even coating.
I would also add the lemon zest when you fold in the flour because then it won’t stick to the beaters as badly. You could also add things to this recipe, such as mini chocolate chips, or swap out the lemon zest for orange zest or even get adventurous and add very finely chopped fresh thyme or basil with the lemon zest.
Having never made madeleines before, I was surprised how easy they were! A friend had an idea to serve these madeleines on Christmas morning and brought along 2 madeleine pans for the holiday festivities. One was what I consider to be the traditional long scallop shape and the other a more shell-like shape, and the batter perfectly filled all 20 of the indentations.
I was very careful in the buttering and flouring of the pan, and they were easy to remove. Being somewhat of a purist, I had to first try them unadorned, without the confectioners’ sugar. My preference would be to have them always that way. However, they did look festive dusted with the confectioners’ sugar, and when we didn’t finish them all that morning, the sugar dusting remained visually appealing as they waited to be eaten over the course of the next day.
Because we are tea drinkers, we were able to follow through on Ruth Reichl’s suggestion to, “Enjoy a madeleine with tea, just as the narrator did in Swann’s Way.” Although maybe this runs counter to my purist tendencies, we all loved the little bit of lemony goodness from the zest in the batter.
Originally published June 20, 2018