Buttery, light, and not overly sweet, madeleines are dead-easy to make. The only thing that stopped me from making them for years was not owning a madeleine pan. I don’t know why I waited so long. Do yourself a favor, splurge and get two pans so you can crank out more than one batch at a time. We recently shared a special birthday dinner with good friends at Daniel Boulud’s eponymous restaurant in New York City, and at the end of the meal, the waiter brought freshly baked mini madeleines all bundled up for dessert. They were still warm and lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar, and we gobbled them up in minutes. Madeleines can be made without beaters and are best eaten on the same day as close to the bake as possible.
I was impressed that the pastry chef at Daniel had managed to get a good hump in the middle of the mini madeleines. Personally, I prefer regular-sized madeleines without a hump, unless I’m putting curd into their bellies. If you’re all about the hump, make sure you leave the batter in the fridge for at least an hour to chill before baking, and pop the greased and dusted madeleine pans in the freezer while you’re preparing the batter; the chill will help the madeleines rise in the center.
1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey or golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
8 tablespoons (1 stick/115g) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare the madeleine pans by greasing each shell generously with butter, getting into all the nooks and crannies, then lightly dust with flour or, if making the chocolate variation, dust with cocoa. Tap off any excess. Place the prepared pans in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and sift.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, honey, and zest.
Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps.
Finally, add the melted butter and whisk until smooth.
Pour the batter into a ziplock bag or cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Chill the batter for an hour in the fridge.
Cut a corner off the ziplock bag or spooning the batter, fill each shell about one-half full, approximately 1 level tablespoon per shell. The batter will have thickened, so gently drop and tap the tray on the kitchen counter to encourage it into the grooves. The batter will flow beautifully into the shells in the heat of the oven.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The edges will have pulled away slightly from the shell and be golden. Be careful not to overcook, which can happen quickly.
Let the madeleines sit for 5 to 10 minutes; then, using a butter knife, gently nudge them out of the pans. Cool on a wire rack.
Reprinted with permission from Simple Cake by Odette Williams, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Nicole Franzen. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.
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