The Beautiful Shell-Shaped Madeleine Cookie
are cookies baked in special shell-shaped mold pans which vary in size and shape. From the traditional shell shape, you can also find madeleine molds in other shapes (barquettes, ovals, etc.). Madeleines are great to serve as tea pastries, and since
they are decorative make an easy addition to dessert buffets and holiday events.
The traditional shell-shaped cookies are known for their distinctive
'humps' on the opposite side of the shell decoration. Look for this
in all Madeleines since when served the humps are usually up.
are some tips when making Madeleines:
- I know it
may seem to defeat the purpose of using such a beautiful pan, but
the main object is to get the perfect hump on the cookies not the
batters may seem excessively thin, but as the butter cools it will
using a recipe calling for orange or lemon zest, be sure to use a
very fine grater and then only grate the colored part of the rind
to avoid bitterness.
prefer a pastry bag to pipe out the batter. Place a smallish round
tip (I like to use Ateco 803 size) in a pastry bag and scrunch down
some of the bag into the tip to stop up the hole. This is especially
necessary if the batter is quite thin. Spoon the batter into the bag
and twist at the top to close. When you are ready to pipe, un-scrunch
the tip end of the bag and twist the bag a few more turns to allow
the batter to come out and begin piping. When doing many at a time,
it's a time saver and more efficient than spooning them or scooping
them, although scooping is quite acceptable.
them rest just a moment after baking before turning them out since
some recipes create especially fragile Madeleines.
using a dark metal pan for the Madeleines, experiment with a couple
to see how dark they become. You may need to adjust the timing or
temperature to prevent overbrowning.
may be dipped in melted chocolate before serving.
remember: 'hump' and 'fresh' are the only two real standards for a
Madeleine, so have fun experimenting and try adding your own flavors
to your own favorite basic recipe.
Recipe flavors vary widely. Many recipes for Madeleines have orange or lemon zest for flavoring,
or use an orange flower water instead of vanilla extract. Almond flavor is popular in some recipes and those will typically have an almond flour base to
them. Browned butter go well with both flavors (citrus and almond) and give the madeleines a nice malty flavor.
One of the unifying factors for all Madeleine recipes is that it does
contain whole butter, no substitutions for melted margarine here. If
clarified butter is called for in a recipe, use that. Below is a recipe
for Honey Lemon Madeleines, a pleasing flavor for these special cookies.
This recipe calls for honey, brown
sugar, and lemon zest. If making these for a holiday, try adding a pinch of spice to
the dry ingredients.
3 1/2 oz sugar
1 oz brown sugar
3 whole eggs
1 oz honey
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 1/2 oz flour
4 1/2 oz melted cooled unsalted butter
Butter or spray
chosen Madeleine pans. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place the sugars,
eggs, honey, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand up mixer. Whip until light. Remove from mixer and carefully fold in the dry
ingredients in two parts, then fold in the melted butter last. Spoon or pipe
batter into prepared Madeleine pans and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, depending
on the size of the pan and how well they are filled. Let rest a moment
then turn them out on a rack to cool.
Healy, Bruce. The French Cookie Book. New York: William, 1994.
the files of Renee Shelton.