Remember that nearly-useless madeleine pan I have? Well it may be about to get a lot less useless because I have finally discovered a madeleine recipe worth staying up until midnight to make. It involves browned butter, vanilla, and the zest of an entire lemon. And when I say these madeleines are like moist little heavenly scented cake, I’m not just trying to make you jealous that you didn’t find this recipe first. I swear. If you come to visit Peter and I, we can whip up a batch. I’ll try not to burn the butter, and you can try not to eat all the madeleine batter when my back is turned. The only thing I find frustrating about madeleines is how darn good they taste straight out of the oven, requiring all my self-control not to eat the whole batch myself (by midnight Peter was passed out upstairs, so I didn’t even have cookie-glomming backup).
The recipe for these madeleines can be found in many places, but I stumbled upon it on 101 Cookbooks. I’ve transcribed it here for my own records along with rewritten instructions detailing my failings with butter browning. Enjoy!
Browned Butter Madeleines
(Makes 2-3 dozen cookies)
3/4 cups butter (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup white sugar
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter and flour for dusting the madeleine pan
Powdered sugar for sprinkling on the baked cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small pot melt the 3/4 cups butter over medium heat and cook for ~15 minutes until browned.* Pour the browned butter through a fine mesh strainer lined with a paper towel to catch all the browned butter solids. Set the butter aside to cool as you put the rest of the ingredients together.
- Butter and flour the madeleine pan. Try to get all the tiny cracks if possible.
- Break the eggs into a bowl with the pinch of salt and beat with electric beaters using a whisk attachment for about 2 minutes until doubled or tripled in volume.
- Slowly add the sugar to the egg mixture, whipping constantly.
- Keep whipping the egg mixture another two minutes or so until thickened.
- Set aside the electric beaters, grab a bowl scraper, and fold in the vanilla and lemon zest into the egg mixture.
- Now add the flour to the egg mixture, a little at a time, and fold in.
- Finally, add the cooled browned butter to the egg mixture and fold in until just incorporated.
- Fill each shell indentation in the madeleine pan about 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes.
- When the cookies come out of the oven, remove them from the madeleine pan immediately (and very carefully) and cool on a cookie sheet.
- Cover the cooled cookies with a light dusting of powdered sugar. Or dip them in chocolate. Or both.
*For those of you who haven’t browned butter before, I was extremely lucky with mine because it got all foamy so that I couldn’t see what was going on and I took it off the heat just in time. The butter will smell nutty and incredibly delicious when it’s done, so pay attention to your nose and the pot.