These delicate french cakes are actually a piece of cake to make. You can make this recipe with just 6 ingredients in one bowl and impress the pants off your friends in no time.
Awww, Paris. Did the name alone just send you off daydreaming of eating in bistros, licking your fingers after devouring a pain au chocolat, or maybe a macaron or two? But the one french treat you should be day dreaming about is a madeleine.
Because you can make that day dream a reality pretty easily in the next hour. No pastry chef degree required.
So when a reader contacted me saying she was having difficulty making these cakes, I donned my apron and get to work. (can I brag just a little and say that the apron is actually from Paris? ok, ok moving on…)
Well, the first two batches didn’t go so well. Silly me, I trusted the time the recipe gave me way too much and ended up with some seriously crispy cakes.
One of the tips I always give is to never trust the time it gives you on a recipe! Especially the first time out. That’s just good oven 101 in the kitchen. I set my timer a few minutes earlier than the recipe called for, and still lo and behold they were way over done.
So after batches 1 and 2 sat proudly in my trash, I went on the hunt for an easy recipe from a trusted source. And I came across a recipe from James Peterson.
Only 6 ingredients. No mixers needed. Just one bowl. Now we’re talking people.
Ok so before we talk about how to make these delicate little puppies, let’s cover some stuff first.
What Is A Madeleine?
Maybe you thought Madeleine was just some girl’s name. Well ok you’re half right. But it’s also the name of a delicate buttery french cake (or a cookie as some think of them) that is baked in a special madeleine mold.
They have a light spongy interior and a slightly crispy buttery exterior. Um, perfection if you ask me.
The cakes (cookies?) end up having a scalloped edge and a slight hump in the middle. Like such…
Madeleines are usually made one of two ways. One way is similar to making a classic sponge cake or genoise. The other way (the one I am going to show you) uses melted butter and results in a bit of a denser cookie but much easier to make. So my personal fav.
Tools You Will Need:
- Madeleine Pan (I recommend 2 so you don’t have to clean and butter the pans in between)- I use a non-stick pan which works great, but you can also use silicone baking mold or a traditional madeleine pans. But be warned: the traditional pans tend to stick more. I say stick get the non-stick and save yourself the frustration.
- Pastry Brush (for preparing the pans with butter)
- Zester (if you are making them as I did with lemon zest, but if you don’t you could just add some vanilla, almond, or maybe even some mini chocolate chips!)
- Piping bag and tip (if you don’t have these, don’t fret. You could use a zip-loc bag and just cut the corner off.)
- And of course a spatula and a mixing bowl doesn’t hurt either.
How To Make Madeleines
Now like I said, this is just one way. Dare I say the best? Because it’s the easiest? Now because these contain baking powder, technically I guess they aren’t a traditional madeleine. However, the baking powder will ensure they rise and they turn out beautifully. I mean in the end it’s cookies right? And cookies should get from bowl to belly as quickly as possible. Not the trash. I know you feel the same way.
To start making these madeleines the first you need to do is to get your pans ready.
If you are using a silicone baking mold or a non-stick mold (which is what I used): Then be sure to brush the molds with softened butter. This will give the cookies a bit of crispy exterior, which I totally love. And help to not stick even further.
If you are not using a non-stick mold: Then brush with softened butter first then dust with flour. Then tap out the excess flour. If you see any “bald spots” then dust with flour again. Madeleines can have a tendency to stick with these kinds of molds, so be sure they are completely covered.
In your bowl you want to sift your dry ingredients- sugar, properly measured flour, and baking powder.
Then add in your lemon zest. The original recipe called for orange zest, which you could use. Even lime zest. Or all three. Why not! Go nuts! Note: the recipe called for sifting the zest as well, but if you have a zester that is too fine it may not all go through. That’s fine just stir in the rest that didn’t sift through.
To your sifted ingredients you want to add in your egg whites and stir it all together.
And then your melted butter (be sure it’s not still hot!). And that’s it. Stir it all together and you’re good to go.
Now time to pipe them into your buttered pans. Here is my little trick to make this super easy for you: place your piping bag over a tall drinking glass and then go ahead and spoon the mixture into the bag.
If you want more baking shortcuts like this you can download my 10 baking secrets below!
Once your piping bag is ready to go, then go ahead and fill your pans. You want to leave a little bit of room at the top of each mold for them to expand in the oven. Just simply squeeze the batter back and forth and fill each mold. If you have extra batter, you can just place it in your fridge between batches. (The second batch had a bit of a bigger hump, but they still came out great!)
These cookies take about 8-10 minutes in the oven on the middle rack. They will have a slight hump in the middle of the cookie, which is classic of these madeleines and brown crispy edges.
You want to make dust these with some confectioner’s sugar and pop them out of the pans. Be sure to allow them to cool on a cooling rack.
For a fun option you could even fill these with some lemon curd when you are done. Just fill a piping bag with some lemon curd, and poke the tip into the bottom of the cookie and squeeze a small amount in until you see it come out the hole.
These cookies will stay crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle for about 2-3 days. Just be sure to place them in an airtight container after they have completely cooled. They will still be quite delicious after a few days but lose some of their crispness. But I mean do you really expect them to last that long?
If you like this recipe, then check out these other cookies recipes below:
If you like this recipe or have any questions let me know and leave me a comment below!
Until next time, happy baking!
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 2. Prepare your pans by brushing with softened butter. If you are using mold that is not non-stick then also dust with flour.
- 3. In a bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, and baking powder. Stir in your lemon zest.
- 4. Stir in the egg whites until smooth.
- 5. Stir in the butter until smooth.
- 6. Fill a piping bag with your batter, and pipe into the your prepared pans. Be sure to leave a little room at the top for the cookies to expand in the oven. If you have leftover batter, you can just store in the refrigerator.
- 7. Bake for about 8-10 minutes until slightly browned around the edges, and the cakes spring back to the touch.
- 8. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with confectioners sugar, then pop out of the molds and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Store tightly in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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