Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I thought using spoons was a great idea. And maybe it was... in someone else's kitchen. The batter ran all over the pan and it stuck to the spoons. I was so excited about not having to buy a madeleine pan. Since I never had a madeleine I really could not justify the purchase.

After the spoon fiasco, I decided to put them in mini muffin tins so I could at least try them and give my kids a treat. I glazed them with the lemon sugar from the recipe. I had put in 2/3 of a cup of sugar instead of the half of a cup. I took out some, added some lemon juice and a little water along with confectioner's sugar.

Madeleine's just melt in your mouth.

I definitely will purchase a madeleine pan in the near future. I keep hoping to run into one at a local store for a good price. I will probably end up getting one that Tartelette suggested on her site.

Check out the bloggers from Tuesday with Dorie. I am sure you will find some outstanding Madeleine's.


Madeleines are among the most recognizable pastries in the French repertoire because of their look: they are made in scallop-shaped molds from which they emerge ridged on one side, plump and full-bellied on the other and golden. That they are among the best known is thanks to Marcel Proust, who immortalized them in his novel Remembrance of Things Past. Everyone seems to know the story of Proust's narrator dipping the cookie into his tea and having the first taste bring back a flood of childhood memories. With that short entry, Proust and the madeleine gained such celebrity that even people who've never tasted the cookie refer to it with confidence as a touchstone. Yet when you take away all the literary allusions and all the romance, what you're left with is a tea cake that deserves to be famous for its deliciousness alone.

The madeleine is a beautiful, if somewhat plain, cookie made from the kind of batter you'd use for a sponge cake. What distinguishes it is its lightness; its texture—the tiny-bubbled crumb is très raffiné; and its flavor, a delicate mix of lemon, vanilla and butter.

This recipe is for a classic madeleine like the one I learned to make in Paris—it's the kind that would make Proust happy. But there are other kinds of madeleines, madeleines Proust might not approve of but that would please most everyone else. When you're ready for a different take on the classic, try Mini Madeleines, Earl Grey Madeleines and the far-from-traditional Fluff-Filled Chocolate Madeleines. I don't even want to imagine what Proust would think of those!

Just to set the record straight, while it's Proust who gets all the credit for making madeleines a household name, the honor really belongs to King Stanislas Leszczynski of Poland, who, in the eighteenth century, tasted a tea cake made by a local woman in Commercy, France. He was so delighted with the cookie that he named it after the baker, Madeleine.

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines. (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)

GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan (or pans), give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven's heat will take care of that. Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. 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.

If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pan(s) before baking.

Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioners' sugar.

makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies

serving: Serve the cookies when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature, with tea or espresso.

storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If you must store them, wrap them airtight and freeze them; they'll keep for up to 2 months.


The Food Duo: Superheroes of the Kitchen said...

Even the spoon method didn't work for you, I'm glad they turned out well with the mini muffin pan.

Engineer Baker said...

I'm glad you stuck with it and tried them in the mini muffin pan. They look good!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Great minis! Too bad the spoons did not work out. Love the glaze!

Bumblebutton said...

Too bad the spoon lineup didn't work out. But I liked your lemon-glaze topped mini muffins--they had to be delicious!

CRS said...

The mini muffins look fantastic--how did everyone like them?

CB said...

Thanks for trying the spoon method. I was torn between the spoon and muffin suggestions but went the muffin pan route. Its good to know that the spoon might not necessarily be the best alternative. Way to try it again with the muffin pan! I bet the lemon sauce was yummy!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Shelly said...

Funny. When I finally break down and buy the right equipment I always think to myself "why did I wait so long to do that"...but until that point I'm always trying to be creative and save money... just like you did with the spoons. Buy the pan, you deserve it.

Garrett said...

I was strongly considering the spoon method, but luckily I avoided that. Hopefully it didn't make too too much of a mess. The lemon glazed mini muffins look delicious.

ostwestwind said...

With amuse gueule spoons it works better, but it's hard to fill them properly. The mini muffin pan is a better option.

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

lemontartlet said...

Your minis look just as good as the shells. Love the icing!

Melissa said...

Hey, you were daring to try the spoon method!

Marie said...

I love your little mini muffin madeleines! Well done you! The spoons would have sounded like a good idea to me too, had I been thinking...I gave up and just made muffins.

Christine said...

The mini muffins look great! I love the glaze. Sorry the spoons didn't work out for you but I like the end result.

Mara said...

ooooh i was all excited to see a spoon method ....!! i like mini muffins too. they seem SO yummy and spongey.

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

I can't believe how well the mini muffins worked. How cute!


Madam Chow said...

Even if the spoons didn't work, I'd say that was an extremely creative idea! Glad they worked out in the end.

Dianne's Dishes said...

The mini-muffin pan was a good idea. Your Madelines look so cute!

Claudia said...

Great little Madeleines-muffins! I can imagine them melting in my mouth.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Those little cakes look gorgeous. I wonder about the flexible Madeleine pans - it would probably be easy to get the Madeleines out - I have a regular metal pan which played up a bit.

Cheryl said...

Glad to know about the spoons. Yikes. But hooray that the mini muffin pan worked!

Heather said...

I used mini muffins too. I'm glad you were able to get the minis to work for you! I loved them!

Jaime said...

i was wondering how the spoons would work out. did you butter them and all?

your mini muffin madeleines turned out great!

Lori said...

Jaime- I didnt butter but I did spray each spoon.

crs- They loved them!

LyB said...

Too bad about the spoon fiasco, as you call it, I thought it sounded like a good idea too. At least the mini muffin pan came to your rescue!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

The spoons sounded like a good idea. Sorry they didn't work for you. The mini-muffin madeleines look great, though. The important thing is that they tasted good!

Brentwood Kitchen Shopper said...

Definitely will try the mini madeleine's for my memorial day gathering!

creampuff said...

That spoon idea is a good one! Too bad it didn't work out but I think you're on to something there. And your muffin/madeleines look really cute!

Jacque said...

Aaah, I'm sorry the spoons didn't work out, but at least now you know. The second batch sounds delish.

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