I love madeleines, these light yet buttery little cakes dissolve on the tongue, leaving behind just a hint of vanilla and sweetness. Countless others have waxed poetic about madeleines, including Proust’s famous sensory description of a Madeleine bite, and that may be why I remembered them as difficult to make.
Instead I fed my Madeleine craving every time I spied a little three-pack of Madeleines at Starbucks. Nothing goes better with a caramel latte. Trust me.
But last night I decided to revisit making these little vanilla cakes. Traditionalists will tell you that Madeleines should have a hint of lemon zest, but I don’t like that little tang. I much prefer the comforting flavors of butter and vanilla.
It turns out that I was wrong. Madeleines are incredibly easy to make. I had warm little cakes on the table for snack time with the kids before I could have made chocolate chip cookies. I made most with vanilla, but I also sprinkled a little coconut and a few chocolate chips in a handful, just to see how they would taste.
Big Surprise. They were all delicious.
If you don’t have a Madeleine mold, baking these in muffin tins that are half-filled will still have them tasting just as good.
Madeleines (Adapted from the Martha Stewart Cookbook)
Makes 3 dozen
3 generous pinches of salt
2/3 cups of sugar
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (1/4 cup), melted and not too hot
Optional: coconut flakes and mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and flour a madeleine or little muffin pan thoroughly. I like to use that Wilton baking liquid.
- In a stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and salt for 8 to 10 minutes. They should be thick and deep yellow with a slight froth.
- Add the vanilla.
- Fold in the flour gently with a rubber spatula.
- Now fold in the butter, still gently, making sure none of it settles at the bottom.
- Spoon into the pan, about 2/3 full in each hole.
- Optional: sprinkle with some coconut flakes or chocolate chips now.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool on drying rack. You can dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving. These are delicious hot or cold. Keeps in a tightly closed tuperware for a few days.