I baked these Madeleines for the very first time and these came out just perfect. These tasted and looked delicious! My guests told me that these tasted way better than the store-bought ones.
Well, I baked them out of guilt. There were these Scallop Shell Pans that I bought from Hong Kong almost five years back and never used them after that! Yesterday, while searching for a food prop from my “secret” closet, I bumped into those spanking new shell pans. I immediately decided to bake Madeleines right away, before the kids were back from school. These Madeleines are easy to bake. The time taken to bake these beauties was just 15 minutes!
These French butter cakes are unique because these are somewhere between a cake and a cookie. Besides, these make a perfect tea treat. The kids will love these too! I gave them a plateful of Madeleines with a glass of milk. The milk was left, but the Madeleines? All wiped out in minutes.
I noticed that Madeleines taste the best when freshly baked and served when these are still warm. On standing, these still tasted yum, but yes, if you want to taste outstanding Madeleines, bake them in small batches and eat them immediately as an accompaniment to your afternoon tea. Today morning I tasted the same Madeleines that I baked yesterday: it tasted way inferior today. Maybe this is the reason why I never could appreciate Madeleines served in the best of Five-Star Buffets in the city or those served in reputed bakeries and cafes. As far as I have observed, Madeleines tend to dry out on standing!
Technically, Madeleines should be slightly brown and crispy from the outside and spongy from the inside. There are many interesting variations that you can try. For me, the basic, classic Madeleines are the most comforting of all the flavours. You can experiment with flavours like Green Tea Madeleines, Chocolate, citrus peel, etc. People do add sugar syrup, maple syrup, chocolate coating or icing sugar to the Madeleines, but believe me, if your Madeleines are tasty and baked right, you need nothing of these. Just plain and straightforward classic French Madeleines with a hot cup of tea are enough!
If you like Madeleines with a hump, you will have to freeze the brushed and floured Scallop Shell Madeleine tray for atleast 15 min. Then add the batter and chill for 1 hr. As I was running short of time and I really don’t care for that hump, I skipped the freezing part. However, if you love that extra hump, do chill the batter for sure.
Although some Madeleine recipes advise the use of unsalted butter, I prefer salted butter for this recipe, as it balances out the flavours well. It is advisable to brown the butter for this recipe. However, if you are not comfortable with browning the butter, you can use melted butter. The latter will also taste great, don’t worry. But it you want that extra nutty flavour, you must brown the butter. Be careful not to burn it! You just want a light brown colour. Keep the butter at room temperature for a while, until it is cool enough to handle (but still slightly warm).
Classic French Madeleines
- Melted butter and all-purpose flour for coating the scallop shell tray
- All-purpose flour: 100 g
- Caster sugar: 100 g
- Eggs: 2
- Baking powder: ¾ tsp
- High-quality vanilla extract: 1 tsp
- Salted butter I used Lurpak brand: 100 g
- Brown the butter first by melting it slowly in a pan on medium-to-simmered flame. Stir it constantly. Be careful at this stage, as butter burns at a blink of an eye. When the butter is just brown, remove the pan from heat. At this stage, the butter has a nutty and toasty flavour, which enhances the overall taste of Madeleines. Let the butter rest at room temperature. We will use this butter only when it is sufficiently warm, but not hot.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C for 10 min.
- While the oven gets preheated, brush the cups of your Madeleine tray with brown butter. With the help of a sieve, dust and coat the tray generously with flour. Tap to remove excess flour. If you want Madeleines with a hump, refrigerate the tray for 15 min and then add the batter and chill for 1 hour. As I didn’t want the hump, I didn’t refrigerate the tray.
- Whisk together the eggs and the sugar until lightly frothy. Then, add the butter and the vanilla extract and whisk for 2 min.
- Add the flour and the baking powder. Fold the contents for about 1 min.
- Lightly whisk until everything is just combined: about 1 min.
- Spoon the mixture into the tray. Do not tap.
- Bake at 180°C for 10–15 min. In some ovens, the baking of Madeleines just takes 10 min. In the case of my oven, it took 15 min. Ideally, after 10 min of baking, you must check the Madeleine for firmness. At the end of 15 min, the Madeleines should be firm to touch and should rise from the middle.
- Transfer to a wire rack and tap the Madeleines immediately to release them from the moulds. Let them cool down slightly, over a wire rack. Serve these freshly baked French treats at tea time while the Madeleines are still warm.
- No need to sprinkle icing sugar for this recipe.
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