The French Know Best

One of the many reasons why I love the French: madeleines.


Madeleines, with their distinctive shell shape, are one of my favorite snacks from my childhood. My mom admits that the reason why my sister and I are so fond of them is because she used to buy them for us at Nordstrom when we were young so we would be entertained and patient while she went shopping. Regardless, there's nothing quite like that sweet, buttery cake-like treat. I've always wanted to try making them myself, but what finally made me do it was when I saw the madeleine pan while I was shopping for other baking products.

While looking for a recipe, who better to follow than Thomas Keller? For those who don't know the name, Keller is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, and thankfully cookbook writer (so that us, normal people, or not-so-normal people rather could attempt to emulate his craft). I recently purchased his Bouchon Bakery cookbook after a good friend of mine recommended it. What I love about his cookbook is that he doesn't simply instruct how to make something. He gives you background on why things are done a certain way and what mistakes to avoid. In this way, he's not just teaching you how to make this one recipe, but he's teaching you how to hone your kitchen skills and how to be better cook in general. It's an understatement to say that he's deeply passionate about food. The 6+ pages on making croissants and other puff pastry make me want to dive into a ball of yeasty dough (am I the only one who's ever dreamed of doing that?). Anyway, back to the madeleines. 

*These measurements are a little tedious because they are converted from grams.
- ¼ cup + 3 ½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup + 1 tbsp. eggs (about 1 whole egg & 1 egg yolk)
¼ cup + 1 ¼ tsp. granulated sugar
- 2.3 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature (about 4 
½ tbsp.) + 2 tbsp, melted (to grease pan)
- 2 tsp. dark brown sugar
- 1 
¼ tsp. clover honey

- You need a 12-mold madeleine pan 
- In order to achieve that classic madeleine bump, bake in convection oven

  1. Combine eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of stand mixer with a whisk attachment on low for about 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and let whip for about 4 minutes, until batter has lightened in color and doubled in volume. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together butter, brown sugar, and honey, just until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in half of the dry flour mixture to the whipped egg mixture. Fold in remaining half, incorporating all dry ingredients. Pour warm butter mixture over batter and fold in until smooth. 
  5. Cover batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
    *I only refrigerated for 2 hours, and because of this I did not get the signature bump nor did the shells indent deeply. The flavor and texture were quite good, but I think the longer the batter can rest, the more developed the flavor and texture will be, as well as the shape.
  6. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Brush madeleine pan generously with butter using a pastry brush. Refrigerate pan for 10-15 minutes to let butter harden.
  7. Using either a pastry bag or ice-cream scoop with release lever, fill madeleine pan, a generous tablespoon in each mold. 
    *The batter will be thick so use a knife to spread it into the mold.
  8. Bake for 7-8 minutes in a convection oven (a minute longer in standard oven) - until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Bottoms of madeleines brown faster than the top, so even if they don't look quite done, they probably are.
  9. Remove from oven and immediately turn out onto cooling rack.

I dare you not to devour them all. I dare you. 


As you can see, the cakes didn't quite take the shell indentations very deeply. I think resting the batter overnight will remedy this. If you don't care how they look, they tasted unbelievably good so if you are in a hurry, 1-2 hours in the fridge won't be the end of the world. I promise.

These are truly so much better than the ones they sell at Starbucks and Nordstrom café, and easy enough to make at home. They are so good that I probably wouldn't ever make less than a double batch.