A shell-shaped cake with one perfect little bump on its back, madeleines are the classic cookie, evoking simplicity and nostalgia and transcending the trendy dessert fads that fade away before the steam has even rolled off your Earl Grey. This crowd-sourced cookbook celebration of the dainty French delight—immortalized by Proust—proves that classic doesn’t have to mean conventional.
We Love Madeleines’ forty reverential and mold-breaking recipes were developed by madeleine-lovers from Italy to Oregon. They’re filled with unexpected delights from rosemary parmesan polenta to molasses spice to chocolate hazelnut, plus gluten-free and vegan options.
Enjoy these two holiday season-appropriate recipes, and please let us know if you love madeleines too by leaving a comment below! One randomly selected commentator will be selected to win a copy of We Love Madeleines (giveaway good in the US and Canada only).
Growing up in Paris, Miss Madeleine didn’t experience the wonders of pumpkin pie until later in life, when her travels took her to the United States in November. Inspired, she came up with these festive madeleines—just the smell of them baking in the oven will get you thinking about the holidays!
2 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup/130 g sugar
1 cup/130 g cake flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1/2 cup/115 g butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the pan
4 tbsp/60 ml pumpkin puree
1 tsp orange juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on low speed until just combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat until light and airy, 5 to 6 minutes. Still on low speed, add the flour, and beat until just combined. Add the melted butter, pumpkin puree, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly against the surface to prevent drying out, and refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F/190°C/gas 5. Grease a madeleine pan with melted butter and dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
Spoon or pipe the batter into the prepared pan, filling each mold about three-quarters full. Do not smooth out the batter. Bake until the madeleines are puffed up and the edges have just started to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Immediately turn the madeleines out onto a wire rack and let cool. Wipe out the pan and let cool. Re-grease and re-flour the pan, re-fill, and continue baking until the all the batter has been used. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 24 madeleines
So much baking happens at Lorena’s house during the holidays that there is always a brick or two of butter on the counter coming to room temperature. Sometimes she doesn’t have the time to wait for ingredients to come to room temperature, so she keeps a collection of holiday cookie recipes that can be made on the spot with butter and eggs straight out of the refrigerator. This red-and-green–flecked version of her family’s favorite madeleine is one of those can-do-anytime recipes.
1/2 cup/115 g plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the pans
1/2 cup/100 g sugar
1/2 cup/60 g cake flour or other low-protein (7% to 9%) flour
2 tbsp minced dried cranberries tossed in a sprinkling of cake flour
2 tbsp finely chopped pistachios
1/4 cup/30 g all-purpose flour
Fill a small bowl with warm (but not hot) water. Place the eggs in the water and set aside to warm for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small heavy saucepan, heat the butter over low heat until completely melted. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on medium speed while adding the sugar in a slow, steady stream, letting the granules run sparingly into the eggs. When all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until the mixture triples in volume, turns a glossy pale yellow, and falls off the whisk in 1- to 4-in/2.5- to 10-cm ribbons that sit atop the mixture for a few seconds before melding in, about 5 minutes.
Position one rack in the upper quarter of the oven and another in the center and preheat to 400°F/200°C/gas 6. Using a pastry brush, generously brush two madeleine pans with 2 tbsp of the melted butter and dust with flour, tipping and tilting out any excess. Set aside.
Sift the cake flour over the egg mixture, while you gently fold it in using a large rubber spatula. Do not add more than 1 to 2 tbsp flour at a time until the previous addition has been completely incorporated or you will end up with deposits of flour encased in egg batter.
Pour the remaining 1/2 cup/115 g of melted butter through a strainer into a small mixing bowl. Scoop 1 cup of the madeleine batter into the bowl of melted butter. Using a small spatula, gently fold the batter into the butter until completely combined. Add the butter mixture to the large bowl of remaining batter and gently fold it in until fully incorporated. Gently fold in the cranberries and pistachios.
Spoon or pipe the batter into the prepared pans, filling each mold almost to the top. Bake, staggering the pans so that the top pan is not directly above the lower one and rotating them back to front and upper to lower halfway through baking, until the edges have browned slightly and the center of the madeleines springs back to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes.
Let the madeleines cool in the pans on a wire rack for 3 minutes and then, using a butter knife, gently turn out the madeleines onto the rack and let cool.
Makes 24 madeleines
Purchase: We Love Madeleines.
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