Madeleines have everything I look for in a cookie (okay, they aren't really cookies, they are more like mini-cakes but I use the term loosely here). They are delicious and pretty; they look fancy but are easy to make; they're delicate and require special baking equipment. I realize for most people the last would be a deterrent but I love kitchen accessories. I love all kitchen stores and could spend significant amounts of money at Sur La Table and Mrs. Cooks and Crate and Barrel if it weren't for the limited capacity of my kitchen to hold said items. Some day I will have a house with a giant kitchen and will be able to buy kitchen gadgets to my hearts content.

But I digress; we were talking about Madeleines, those airy sweet scalloped shaped cookies. You my be thinking, "wait a sec, you said they were easy, but they're French!" I know everyone thinks French cooking is insanely complicated, but it is all lies. These cookies are easy and guaranteed to impress.

The trick to Madeleines is to keep the batter light and full of air. The cookies themselves are soft, like little sponge cakes. Madeleine recipes have ominous warnings about over-mixing and the batter deflating. Luckily I made them before actually reading through all the directions so I was not distracted by such dire warnings. The trick I found is to really beat the eggs and sugar before adding the dry ingredients (which in true form I did not mix together separately). Throw the eggs and sugar in the mixer, turn it on a medium-high and go work on a crossword puzzle or something. I let it go for almost ten minutes. The mixture should be smooth, shiny and almost white. The air bubbles should be tiny and it should be very think (like a soft meringue). I did this and did not follow the rules for adding the dry ingredients or the butter and my cookies were still amazing (if I do say so myself).

If you're feeling a little creative, feel free to change the flavoring by switching the vanilla for lemon or orange or almond or peppermint or chocolate or fill-in-the-blank. You could also dip the finished cookies in some melted chocolate chips.

Madeleine Recipe

3 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1. Melt the butter and let it cool.
2. Beat eggs and sugar until shiny and thick (about 8 minutes).
3. Mix in vanilla
4. Sprinkle baking powder, salt and 1/3 cup of flour over egg mixture. Mix until just combined. Add remaining flour by 1/3 cup.
5. Fold in butter until just combined.
6. Chill for about 30 minutes.
7. Fill well greased and floured Madeleine pan, 1 tablespoon batter for each cookie.
8. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 11-13 minutes.
Modified from:Joy of Baking
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  1. Where did you get that great china which goes so well with Madelines.

  2. Perfect for tea! What is your perfect afternoon tea menu?

  3. I love my tea set, a by-product of my mother's antiquing habits. I remember my first tea set was a miniature one with little teddy bears.

    I like to have a couple of tea sandwiches (cucumber and cream cheese, curried chicken salad, salmon and dill, and/or date and nut rolls), a couple of sweets (such as these madeleines, mini fruit tarts, shortbread) but the most important part are the scones (I'll have to post the famous scone recipe). And to drink, earl grey of course!

  4. You make a valid point. Pecan shortbread dipped in chocolate?