French Madeleine Cookies
These French madeleine cookies are known for their shell-like shapes and spongy texture. This recipe yields soft cake-y cookies that are super easy to make!
If you’re wondering whether madeleines are cookies or cakes, well, it depends who you ask. In my opinion, madeleines are mini french cakes, but they are often referred to as cookies due to their size. Whatever you call them, they taste absolutely delicious!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Pillow-y soft texture. They’re like mini clouds of cake!
- Only 7 ingredients and they are probably already in your kitchen.
- Tried-and-true method. This authentic technique of whipping the batter for 8 minutes guarantees a soft and light cookie.
- Beautiful appearance. The scallop-shaped cups in the madeleine pan results in an eye-catching treat!
- Perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee or afternoon tea.
- Flour: Use all purpose flour measured properly. If it has clumps, sift it first.
- Eggs: Bring large eggs to room temperature before using.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter and melt it in the microwave or stovetop. Let it cool a bit before adding to the batter.
- Lemon zest: Use fresh lemon zest for a class madeleine flavor.
- Baking powder: This leavening agent guarantees the signature humps on the cookies. Check that it’s fresh and not expired for best results.
Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.
Dip them in chocolate. For a little extra sweetness, melt chocolate and dip the cooled cookies in it. Let the excess chocolate drip off before placing on parchment paper or wax paper to set.
Add some chopped nuts or holiday sprinkles. If dipping in chocolate, sprinkle on some chopped nuts or holiday sprinkles on top. This would make for a lovely appearance!
Use orange zest instead of lemon zest for a different citrus twist.
Add almond extract. This is one of my favorite flavors and it pairs so well with a bit of lemon (like this almond lemon cake). About 1/2 teaspoon mixed in with vanilla should do the trick!
How to Make Madeleine Cookies
- Whip eggs and sugar: Combine eggs and vanilla on high speed until pale in color, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add sugar and continue whip on high speed for 8 more minutes.
- Ribbon stage: Check that the batter holds a ribbon when the whisk attachment is lifted up.
- Fold in dry ingredients: Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gently fold it into the batter, 1/4 cup at a time, until just incorporated.
- Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around the edges of the bowl. Fold in gently.
- Chill the batter: Cover the bowl and chill the batter for 45 minutes.
- Bake madeleines: Divide batter evenly among a greased madeleine pan. Bake at 375°F for 12 minutes. Cool slightly in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
I own this madeleine pan and love it! The light colored aluminized steel keeps the madeleines from burning.
Use room temperature ingredients. This is really important to achieve the right consistency for the batter. Let the melted butter cool slightly before adding it.
Weigh your ingredients—another crucial tip for perfect madeleines. Using a kitchen scale will yield accurate measurements. If you don’t have a scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife (don’t pack it down).
Whip the batter on high speed for 8 full minutes. You want to reach the ribbon stage, which is when eggs and sugar are whipped together until light in color and thick in consistency. The batter forms a ribbon when the whisk attachment or beaters are lifted out of the bowl.
Chill the batter before baking. This relaxes the gluten and helps the cookies rise in the oven.
Store madeleines in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Due to their delicate texture, they are best when eaten the day they are baked.
Freeze for up to 1 month. After the cookies have cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. When ready to serve, defrost and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Keep in mind, freezing will affect their pillowy texture, but they will still be delicious.
Yes, but the texture will be off. Bake in a mini muffin tin for the same amount of time. The texture won’t be as light and fluffy, but the madeleines will still have good flavor.
No, but it helps with the texture. The flour is folded in gently at the end so it hasn’t had time to hydrate. Chilling the batter hydrates the flour and relaxes the gluten. This step helps the madeleines rise higher while baking.
There is a lot of air in madeleine batter. When it is baked, steam escapes creating the signature hump or belly.
Not really. If the batter stays in the fridge for more than an hour, the butter will solidify and change the texture of the cookies.
If you enjoy French desserts, then try these recipes next!
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Get the Recipe: French Madeleine Cookies
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (93 g) all purpose flour, measured correctly
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 6 Tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ¼ cup (30 g) confectioners' sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (a hand mixer works too), combine eggs and vanilla on high speed until pale in color, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add sugar and continue to whip on high speed for 8 more minutes. Batter is done when it holds a ribbon when the whisk is lifted.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the batter in thirds (1/4 cup at a time). Fold gently just until incorporated. Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around the edges of the bowl so it doesn't deflate the batter. Again, fold in gently making sugar to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl and chill the batter for 45 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease madeleine pan (I used my magic cake pan release for this recipe, but greasing the pan with butter works just as well).
- Remove the batter from the refrigerator and divide the batter evenly among a madeleine pan with 16 molds. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove madeleines from the pan, cool slightly and dust with confectioners' sugar.