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My Favorite French Madeleines

My Favorite French Madeleines
The french madeleine has been favored by kings and peasants since the 17th century, and was cemented into French hearts and culture by the French philosopher Marcel Proust in the early 1920s. Little small sponge cakes with distinct shell-like shapes, they are usually served with a cup of coffee or tea in he morning. Also, French children enjoy the cakes at four in the afternoon for the goûter, which is the French equivalent for British afternoon tea. The delicate cakes practically beg to be immersed in a piping hot cup of tea. This recipe became my favorite after experimenting with many different recipes, and of course, tasting them all over France! Serve them perfectly on a french pastry plate, and bon appétit If you are in Paris the best can be found at Blé Sucré, and my favorite of all, is in a petit walk up in Aix en Provence called Christophe Madeleines. Happy Baking!
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup of sugar
Finely grated zest of lemon or orange, or ½ teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and left to rest until cooled.
For the glaze, choose one of the Simple Syrup Recipes Below
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips, until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
  • Use a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  • Add the eggs to the bowl and beat until the mixture is light colored, fluffy, and thickened.
  • Beat in the honey, then the vanilla
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter.
  • Refrigerate the batter with a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter for at least 3 hours, but overnight is best
  • In the meantime, prepare your madeleine pans. Using Softened butter, generously coat the madeleine pans.
  • Sprinkle with a light dusting of flour, tap the excess away. Then refrigerate for the same amount of time as your batter.
  • This step is important so that the madeleines will not stick to the pan.
  • When ready to bake, center a rack in the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F.
  • Place the madeleine pans on a baking sheet and fill molds to the top, but not overflowing.
  • Bake for 11 to 13 minutes until golden and the tops spring back.
  • Remove from oven, tap the pan on a countertop to release the madeleines from the molds., transfer to a rack to cool, and /or glaze
  • Using a soft brush, gently moisten each Madeleine with Simple Syrup flavored with your choice of vanilla, orange, rose, almond, lemon.


Want to make a flavored version of simple syrup? Try one of these variations, which each makes about 1/2 cup (113g) of syrup:

  • Lemon or Orange simple syrup:Mix the juice of 1 lemon (about 50g) with 1/2 cup (99g) sugar, and heat until the sugar dissolves. 
  • Vanilla simple syrup: Combine 1/3 cup of sugar & 5 tablespoons water, heat until sugar has dissolved and add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Rum simple syrup: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons (26g) water, 1/2 cup (99g) sugar,
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup (57g) rum. Bring to a rapid boil, reduce to simmer, and cook (without stirring) for about 5 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly.
  • Remove from the heat and add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • Store airtight in the refrigerator indefinitely.


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