I tested madeleine recipes for days before I finally found what I consider The Best. I made Julia’s (my standby for years), I made Dorie’s, then David’s, and even the fussy ones from the Joy of Cooking. I scribbled notes in my journal and tried modifications of my own. I went back to the web and tried Heidi’s from 101 Cookbooks. I made so many madeleines my kids passed and I fed them to the chickens.
My madeleine pan has been with me since my first trip to France. There was no way I was giving up but I was frustrated. French mamas are taking these little cakes out of their ovens for goûter (a late afternoon snack), they don’t have time for nonsense, like some of the fussy techniques I stumbled upon during recipe testing. Then along came the November issue of Elle Decor, with Daniel’s Dish to the rescue: Madeleines!
I mixed up the batter before bed one night and stashed it in the refrigerator. The next morning I baked them off and—finally! A madeleine with the “right” sponge-like, cakey texture and crispy edges. A madeleine with great flavor, not simply “sweet”. A madeleine with the easiest technique of all. A madeleine worth making again and again!
Madeleines, The Best by Daniel Boulud
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp light brown sugar packed
- zest from 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
Melt butter in a small pan on stovetop (medium heat). Remove from heat and set aside to cool while you get the rest of the ingredients together.
In a medium bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, eggs, honey, brown sugar and lemon zest. Stir in the cooled, melted butter.
Sift flour and baking powder onto a plate or sheet of parchment. Add to the sugar and egg mixture with the pinch of salt and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap pressed against the dough surface and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a metal madeleine pan with nonstick baking spray. Portion dough into molds, a heaping soup spoon per mold. Bake 5 minutes at 400 then lower heat to 350 for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and tap the pan gently against counter to release the madeleines. Cool on wire rack and dust with confectioners sugar. Best enjoyed the day they are baked.
Recipe Notes / Tips
- Optional: brown the butter for a delicious nutty taste
- For a mini madeleine pan (24 molds instead of the standard 12 per pan), bake for about 4 minutes at 400°F.