with powdered sugar
Madeleines are a guilty pleasure of buttery goodness that seem easy to make, but require a lot of finesse along with a whole lot of patience. They are one of those cookies that will never taste like the real thing unless you are in fact sitting in a little café in Paris enjoying one.
If you have never had one, well you are soon to discover that just one bite is not enough. These tiny French sponge cakes have a shell-like shape from being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions and can be found in pretty much any grocery store in North America. None of those store bought cookies however, will ever compare to the real thing.
There are a few tricks to the trade when it comes to making these pretty little treasures.
- Follow the recipe and I mean SERIOUSLY, follow the recipe.
- Brown the butter! It creates a lot of depth along with that nutty hazelnut taste. Did I mention that they literally melt in your mouth?
- Refrigerate the batter and the baking pans for at least one hour or longer.
- Watch your oven. Every oven is different, especially my crappy old one. The longer it runs the more off the temp it gets so it’s important that you check the cookies when they are baking.
- If you mess them up, don’t give up. They are totally worth the time and effort.
Ingredients: Yields 24 cookies
- 1 stick + 3 Tbsp. Butter
- 2/3 c. White Sugar
- 1 c. Flour
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon Zest
- Powdered Sugar to top (optional)
- Melt the butter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. If you feel you can get it slightly toasty brown, go right ahead and do so by leaving it to bubble in the pan until it smells toasty and starts to color. Just remember that the butter will turn very quickly from toasty to burnt and that it will continue to color after it is off the heat unless you pour it into a new container. Spoon 3 tablespoons of butter into a small bowl or cup and set aside. Let the rest of the butter cool slightly.
- Prepare the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in separate bowls. In a medium bowl, whisk together one cup of the flour and the sugar, and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the two eggs with the vanilla, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest until the eggs are frothy.
- Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Add the eggs to the flour. Using a spatula, stir until just combined. Add the 4 ounces of melted butter and continue to stir. It may take a minute for the butter to blend into the mixture but do not over mix.
- Rest the batter. Cover the bowl with a plate (or plastic wrap) and place in the refrigerator to rest at least one hour and up to overnight.
- Prepare the pans. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour to the 3 tablespoons reserved butter and stir to combine. Using a pastry brush, brush the interiors of the shells with the butter-flour mixture so that they are well coated. Place the pans in the freezer for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven and fill pans. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and one pan from the freezer. Fill each well in the madeleine pan with 1 tablespoon of the batter. Remove the other pan and fill in the same way.
- Bake the madeleines. Place both pans on a baking sheet for easy handling and place in the oven. Check after 8 minutes and rotate plans. Check again 5 minutes later. The madeleines should be browning around the edges and puffed up a little in the middle. Using your forefinger, press lightly on the center hump — when the madeleines are finished baking, it should spring back at your touch.
- Cool and dust with sugar. Remove the madeleines from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Using a fork, gently loosen the madeleines from their molds and then tip the whole pan out onto a cooling wrack or tea towel. Once cool, dust lightly with powdered sugar and serve. If you are freezing or storing the madeleines, do not dust with the sugar until you are about to serve.