Not the World's Best Madeleines


The best madeleines I’ve ever had were after a long day of skiing in Chamonix. It was our honeymoon, and Cam and I were staying at the Hameau Albert 1er in the “old” part of the hotel. We’d walk down the windy staircase, and there we’d find, awaiting us on a silver platter, freshly made madeleines that were like eating sweetened, crisp air. I’m sure I tried madeleines before this, but these were so good that they wiped my memory clean of any prior experiences.

Since then, I get excited, and then disappointed whenever I see and then eat these little morsels. None that I’ve found have measured up, because the thing about madeleines is that they need to be eaten, almost immediately.

With the purchase of my new silicone madeleine bakeware and my cool little I-don’t-know-what-this-is find, I decided to try my hand at it so I could get them fresh out of the oven. Lots of my fellow food bloggers have also been whipping up some beautiful looking madeleines as well, but they took more adventuresome routes – chocolate or matcha. I was hoping to recreate those from Chamonix, and so just went plain, taking the recipe from the Joy of Cooking. I really want to try the Lemon Madeleine recipe in Bill’s Food sometime, but I knew that wouldn’t be quite what I was craving.

“bills food” (Bill Granger)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite on my game today cooking, and I’m pretty sure that I put in too much butter. Like way too much butter. So, once again, I’m not happy with the madeleines. Oh, they are tasty enough. They would be with that much butter. But they didn’t cook quite right, browning too much on the edges and not enough on the tops and bottoms. And, as you can see from the photo, there was too much bubbling and they are quite “holey.” I think I’ll just have to figure out how to go back to Chamonix for my fix.

Here’s the recipe, with the right amount of butter, in case you want to try at home.

Makes about 24

1 1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
[I’m pretty sure I wasn’t paying attention, and put in 2 full sticks for mine]
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a small bowl, mash up the butter until soft and smooth. This will go easier if it starts at room temperature. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla until thick and pale yellow, about 2 minutes with an electric mixer. Fold in lemon zest if you are using it. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt over the top of the egg mixture, and fold in. Take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture, and fold into the butter. Then, add the whole butter mixture into the egg mixture. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450F.

If you are not using non-stick bakeware, use butter to grease the pans. If you don’t have a madeleine mold, you can use other molds like mini muffin tins or small tart pans. I gave the little flower mold a try.

Fill each up about 3/4. Don’t over fill, or you’ll end up with some very weird looking cookies. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden on the top and golden brown on the edges. Remove from the tins immediately and allow to cool on a rack.

The little flower ones turned out pretty well – they remind me of little donut holes. I topped a couple with a little powdered sugar and and dark chocolate cocoa.

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3 thoughts on “Not the World's Best Madeleines

  1. Well, they might not be as good as Chamonix, but they were pretty darn good. I’ll take flavour any day!! And hey, is there really such a thing as too much butter?

  2. Are you sure you used a recipe from “The Joy of Cooking”?

    To this day I remember this recipe calling for “clarified” butter!

    What is that you might ask? It´s just the amount of butter the recipe calls for that has been heated in a small pan to the point of almost boiling. Once the butter is of room temperature skim the surface of it. You´ll be throwing or putting aside the part that prevents your Madeleine from becoming of the right consistency.

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