Traditional French Madeleines

Here’s the thing about these little treats– they are my all-time favorite.  And by all time I mean literally all time.  There’s something about the spongy, zesty, sweet cakes being dipped into a hot coffee or tea that just… it brings me to my happy place.

And let me tell you something else about these sumbitches… they’re hard.  The preparation is a pain in the butt, the flavor is fickle, and the batter is so delicate one wrong move will cause it to fall and the whole thing turns into bitter failure.  They also require a pan which you literally can’t use for anything other than madeleines.  Except maybe a chocolate mold if for some reason you want some weird sort of sea shell shaped chocolates?  Hey it could work, right?

Either way, buying the pan for me was worth it.  Modifying the recipes I’ve been playing with was too.  If you can make it work though, trust me, you’ll want to treat yourself to something nice and snazzy as a reward.

So here we go.

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Ingredients-

1- large egg and 2 egg yolks (this can also be substituted as two large eggs) all room temp

6- tbsp butter (melted and then brought to room temp, but still liquid)

1- tsp vanilla

1/3- cup granulated sugar

1/2- cup cake flour (this is important)

3- tbsp lemon zest (depending on your desire for lemony flavor.  I used the zest of three lemons for this batch)

 

For this recipe we will not be preheating our oven.  The dough must chill at least 2 hours before baking, so keep that on hold.

Start by putting your eggs and/or yolks into a mixing bowl and add in the sugar.  With your stand or hand mixer, use the whisk attachment and set to medium. 

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Whisk for five to seven minutes, or until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage.  The ribbon stage is basically when you lift the whisk (while it’s off– yes I made this mistake– more than once.  I know, I am ashamed) out of the batter and it slowly drizzles down in a sort of ribbon pattern.  There are some fantastic youtube videos if you need clarification on what exactly the ribbon stage is going to look like.  Also if you’re using a hand mixer be prepared for epic muscle aches.  Seven minutes is a long, LONG time.

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Next you’re going to add the lemon zest to the butter and give a good stir.  Let it sit for a good minute or so.  The next step can be done one of two ways. 

Option one you can add the vanilla to the butter and lemon, and add that to the egg mixture and slowly fold in with a rubber spatula.  Then you add in the flour folding in about two tbsp at a time until fully incorporated.  Doing this prevents the egg mixture from falling because you want to keep it light and airy.

Or, option two (which is what I prefer) you add the flour into the butter and lemon mixture and stir until fully combined.  Add the vanilla to the egg mixture and fold in with the rubber spatula.  Using a hand whisk (not the mixer) gently whisk together the eggs and flour-butter until combined into a light dough.  This method will give you slightly denser cakes.  Be very careful you don’t over-whisk and cause the dough to fall completely.

Next prep your madeleine pan with a little bit of butter and flour (shaking off excess flour into the sink).

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Fill your madeleine molds almost completely full, leaving just a slight bit of room at the top.  Make sure you clean up any excess that spills on the side because it won’t have a pleasing smell in the oven when it starts crisping.  (And yes, I also learned this the hard way.)

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Place the pan into the fridge and let set at least two hours, preferably three.  You can even cover and let set overnight, or up to two days if necessary.  Once the dough has been chilled, set on the counter, preheat your oven to 375F.  Place pan in the oven once preheated and cook for about 7-8 minutes, or until the edges are a golden brown.  I usually check about a minute early, and pat the tops.  If they spring back, the cakes are done.  If they depress, they need another minute or two.

Remove from oven and remove from pan and set on a cooling rack.  When cookies reach room temperature, sprinkle with some confectioner’s sugar and serve.

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These cookies keep fairly well if you keep them in an airtight container.  They last about a week and a half, and even longer if frozen.  Enjoyed best with a hot beverage for dunking.

If you don’t want to take on this task, feel free to place an order with my etsy shop and have some shipped out asap.

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