Lemon Madeleines

I love Madeleines, it is impossible to not love them. They look like cookies but taste like soft little pieces of cake, perfect with a cup of coffee (or tea if you are not addicted to caffeine like I am, thanks to G). In fact, these fluffy little beauties are exactly what I need on a cloudy, cold day like today. I was in Starbucks (yes for a coffee) and they always have Madeleines sitting on the counter, looking all delicious. And even though I am not a big fan of store made cookies/cakes, today I would have totally bought them, had it not been for the pre-holiday low carb diet we are trying to stick to.

Before I started baking, whenever I ate these cookies, I always thought the Madeleine making process must be hard and cumbersome. I never imagined they would be so easy to make at home and of course, so much more tasty and fresh!

Lemon Madeleines

(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)

Makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons; 3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

To make the Madeleines

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Working in a mixer bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment, add the eggs to the bowl and beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until they are pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes; beat in the vanilla. I used a hand mixer.
  3. Grab a large rubber spatula and very gently fold in the dry ingredients followed by the melted butter and lemon juice. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and chill the batter for an hour.
  4. To prepare the pan, butter 12 full-size shell-shaped madeleine molds (or up to 36 mini madeleine molds), dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. If you have a nonstick madeleine mold, give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray.
  5. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don’t worry about spreading the batter even, the oven’s heat will take care of that.Refrigerate the filled pan for another hour.
  6. Center a rack in the oven. Put a baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven and the baking sheet to 400 degrees F. Bake the madeleines on the very hot baking sheet.
  7. Bake the large ones for 11 to 13 minutes and the minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. I love the way the center rises into a hump, so much fun to watch.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter.
  9. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just-warm or to room temperature.
  10. If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch, making certain that with each new batch the pans are cool and properly buttered and floured or sprayed.
  11. The cookies are ready to serve when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature. Dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar and serve the sweets with tea or espresso.
  12. The batter can be covered with a piece of plastic film pressed against the surface and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made ( I find it very hard not to!)
  13. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If they must be kept, wrap them airtight and freeze them, they’ll keep for up to 2 months.

Yes!! it is that easy. Apart from the patience needed while you let the batter rest, there is not much to do except mixing the ingredients together. With the holidays around the corner, I am sure these little bites of deliciousness are going to be a regular at home, I can’t wait!!

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