Is there anything more heavenly than a madeleine delivered fresh from the oven? This little cookie inspired Marcel Proust to recount lost memories. Could the meaning of life be nested in this little cookie? The first time I tasted a madeleine was at restaurant Daniel–in its original Venetician-inspired encarnation. The pastry chef sent out a clutch of madeleines wrapped in white linen like a new born. The cookies were still warm and smelled of sunshine and promises. I will never forget my first bite. It was like biting into a little cloud and tasting of heaven, if heaven exists then I am a devout believer.
Put up a pot of tea and prepare to be transported back in time. This recipe makes a rather moist cookie–dunking is optional.
I’ve tried many recipes and this one is by far my favorite. I nudged the amount of salt and sugar but you could do with less (1/8 tsp salt, 2/3 cup sugar) as per the Joy of Baking recipe.
Baker’s note: the key to a successful madeleine is the “buerre noisette” (brown butter) which gives the cookie its nutty flavor, so don’t skip this step.
Lemon Scented Madeleines
1 stick (113 grams) of unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoon for coating the baking pan
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 tsps. Lemon Zest (zest from 1 lemon)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Melt 1 stick of butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat until the butter is browned but careful not to let it burn. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- In an electric mixer on medium-high sppeed, beat eggs and sugar until the mixture doubles in volume and forms thick pale yellow ribbons.
- Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- Sift the flour into the egg mixture in three batches. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the flour into the eggs.
- Fold in the melted butter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, position rack into the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
- Using a pastry brush or your fingers, generously butter the madeliene molds.
- Drop a tablespoon full of butter into each mold.
- Bake 11-13 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown and the centers bounce back to the touch. If you make miniature madeleines, reduce the baking time to about 7-9 minutes.
- Remove pans from the oven and gently tap out the madeleines and let cool on a wire rack, smooth side down.