You’re going to have to bear with me as I finish out citrus season. Every year I somehow miss seeing the Meyer lemons in the store until they are almost lost and gone forever (well, for another year). I just made these totally adorable madeleines, but I still have four creamy-skinned lemons chilling in my fridge and they are bound to visit us next week. And I have dreams of grapefruits, too. I guess I’m a little slow on the uptake.
My younger sister, Anna, had been begging me to make madeleines for quite some time. But, of course, they require a special pan, and I thought they would also be finicky and complicated because they are French, and don’t French pastry chefs just sit around thinking of ways to make my life more difficult? (Here’s lookin’ at you, macarons.)
Since my other sister drew my name for our Not-So-Secret Santa this Christmas, Anna coerced her into buying me a madeleine pan as one of my gifts. And on my shelf it sat until a few weeks ago when my husband, appalled at the discovery that we had not a single dessert item in the house one night, begged me to make something. I usually go with cookies, but it was getting pretty late and I didn’t want to wait for butter to come to room temperature. Out of curiosity, I searched for a madeleine recipe and found that they use melted butter. So I headed off to the kitchen and began the harrowing process of making my first madeleines.
Except it wasn’t so harrowing. Actually, they were surprisingly easy to make. And in about 20 minutes we had cute little cakey seashells to munch on while we watched old Seinfeld episodes. Marital crisis averted.
So there isn’t anything too fancy about the flavor profile of these madeleines. Meyer lemons and French desserts are all the fancy we need for a quick weekend snack. I don’t have any Proustian memories associated with these delicate cookies, but perhaps I or my child will in the future.
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated Meyer lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then reduce stove to the lowest heat to keep the butter warm while you make the rest of the batter.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment*, beat the eggs and sugars on high speed until pale yellow in color and thick (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and poppyseeds and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Remove bowl from stand mixer. Sift one-third of the flour mixer over the top of the egg mixture and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat this twice more until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Plop a spatula-full of batter into the melted butter and stir to lighten it up (it will look a little like egg drop soup). Pour the butter mixture into the batter and fold until uniform. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Brush a madeleine pan with Cake Magic, or brush with melted butter and then dust with flour. Scoop 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoonful of batter into each mold. (The more batter you put in, the larger the final cookies will be.)
- Bake for 8-11 minutes (smaller cookies will need less time; larger ones will need to be in longer). When finished, the edges will be golden brown and the tops will spring back when touched.
- Remove the pans from the oven. Tap the pan against the counter to release the madeleines, then place on a wire rack to cool. When cool, dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately. They are best when fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- *You can also do this with a hand mixer or even by hand if you are strong and have stamina!