French Friday: Madeleines

Ooh la la….

the clock is ticking and I am withing two months of my Paris trip!
How exciting is that?
From now until I go {we’ll see what happens when I return} 
every Friday will be French Friday!

All things French – French – French

Today we’ll focus on cooking…….
did I tell you that I will be taking a cooking class while I’m there?
Oh my yes…..

French food gets a bad rap from many people but good French cooking 
is no different than American cooking.
It’s regional and focuses on available ingredients. 
That is no different than the focus on 
meat in the Midwest, 
rice in the South, 
seafood on the coast and 
chiles in the Southwest!
I debated between a pastry course and a regular cooking course 
which results in a three course meal with wine and cheese.
I have loved baking for 40 years and am proficient at following almost any recipe so I decided upon the cooking course. My husband and I will take it together. What a guy! 
It lasts from 9am to 3pm. You go shopping for the food and then make a three course meal with cheese and wine!

Today we’re making madeleines. 

Madeleines are a small tea cake and are very popular in France. 

Madeleine History

As with most popular French foods, there are several different stories about the origin of madeleine cookies. According to one version, Madeleine was a young maid working for a Marquise in the late 1700’s when she baked shell shaped tea cakes for a certain Stanislas Leczinski, the deposed king of Poland.

In another version, it was a different Madeleine who offered her cakes to voyagers making the pilgrimage to Saint Jacques burial site. Whoever made the first madeleine recipe had a good idea at any rate. For it wasn’t long before several different enterprises had taken up making and marketing these small cakes.
The town of Commercy in the Lorraine region of eastern France is renowned for it’s madeleines. From the end of the 19th century up until WWII, voyagers on the train through Commercy were entertained by the site of female cake vendors carrying their wares in big baskets, each yelling louder than the next in an attempt to sell the maximum number of her employer’s madeleines.

This way of selling merchandise was unique within France at the time, and the spectacle of the ladies at Commercy was probably looked forward to by bored travelers.

The madeleine was then immortalized by Marcel Proust in his autobiographical book, Á la recherche du temps perdu(Remembrance of Things Past), where a taste of the cake plunges the narrator back into his childhood. Since then, Proust’s madeleine has become a metaphor in France for anything that creates a vivid memory uh…did you see where in France the BEST madeleines come from?
I’m just sayin….

Many groceries (l’epicerie) carry commercial versions and they are very tasty. 
They are super easy to make however so we’ll do them ourselves.
Madeleines require a special pan which looks like a shell mold.

Isn’t that so pretty?….One thing you cannot deny about the French, 
they make no apologies for making 
just about ANYTHING pretty….I love that! 
Why not make even your everyday life attractive and appealing?
Count me in!

I recently came across a madeleine pan at a thrift store so keep your eyes out. 
You can find them at any cooking store and they vary in price based on where you are.
My thrift store pan was $3.25….now I have two!

If you decide to buy one, don’t let it gather dust but use it for cornbread, chocolate molds, cookies or jello! 
The small shell shapes are so pretty and fun to use!

Here’s our recipe….see how easy?


                                                3 eggs
                                                3/4 cup sugar
                                                1 teaspoon vanilla
                                                1/3 cup milk
                                                2 cups flour
                                                1 teaspoon baking powder
                                                6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla and half of the milk until thick and light yellow. 
Add the flour and baking powder bit by bit and continue mixing until smooth. 
Stir in the rest of the milk and the melted butter.

Carefully grease your madeleine tray if necessary. 
Spoon about two tablespoons of batter into each mold. 
Bake for 15 minutes at 375°F. Cool on a rack.

My variation: 
add zest from one lemon { a heaping teaspoon}
add 1 teaspoon orange extract or { orange zest…same amount}

Gather your ingredients and preheat the oven. They mix up quickly so do that first!
I have a marble baking center that is lower than tabletop height and that’s where I work. 
I designed it for rolling dough, making bread and chopping {on a board of course}

A few years back I collected several sterling baby cups. 
I use them in my jars for scooping out flour and sugar.

This one has the initials RGH….wonder what his/her name was?
See all the dings around the base…did the baby bang the cup on the high chair?

I love vintage things because it matters to me that someone else used the item lovingly 
and that it was once special to them. 
Honestly, I almost feel an obligation to buy things that are especially personal. 
I feel a tug at my heart when I see baby shoes, family pictures and other things that were bought or given specially just sitting on a thrift store shelf.

Sorry…..sentimental me strikes again….back to the madeleines
uh oh…another vintage thing….I won’t say a word…..

I love using this because it’s easy and really beats the h e double hockey sticks out of stuff….
plus, I’m working on not waving at people with my upper arms…a losing battle I can tell you…

See how pale it is after beating?

 flour and baking powder next

Now it’s nice and thick
next milk and butter

lemon zest

ends up like pancake batter…the good kind, like Aunt Jemima, not the cheap kind I use from 
Wal-Mart….what can I say, the kids eat stacks of either kind…why not save a few pennies for lemons to make madeleines?

Butter the madeleine pan….channel Julia here and imagine her voice
“don’t worry about the calories, and don’t use that horrid margarine stuff or those awful spray things….BUTTER, BUTTER, BUTTER”
yeah baby….the butter will give you a nice buttery crispness on the outside
You can always eat just one if you’re worried

Now, another bit of advice…the recipe says to use 2 tablespoons of batter in each mold….NO…too much! 1 tablespoon is plenty. 

I like them a bit thinner and even. With 2 tablespoons, they are larger on one side 
and don’t lie as nicely on a plate….I think you’ll agree…try it and see…

the one on the left is with 1 tablespoon and the right had about 1 1/4 tablespoons
ready for the first batch….then I’ll fill my second pan

into the oven…rack in the center please

Perfect little bits of citrusy, buttery goodness….

add some powdered sugar

I tried a new twist today. With my last bit of batter I added about three twists of nutmeg from my mill….I love fresh nutmeg and always put some in my hot chocolate. I had been thinking that it would add a nice flavor to the madeleines. Not a big difference, but you can taste it.

Sharing with
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Simply Klassic Home


  1. Oooh theese sound wonderful, i’ll have to try this!!

  2. I love madelines. Yum.

  3. thanks for the great recipe…I will be going to france in Feb…can’t wait

  4. Fabulous recipe … You’re right, the French just have a way of making everything so stylish … Jules x

  5. Oh my, I think I’m going to be envious or just flat out jealous. I’ll have to look for a madeleine pan at an estate sale this spring. Have a great weekend!

  6. French food is exquisite and the cornerstone of technical european cookery. Make sure to get some proper Parisian macaroons while you are this side of the pond! xxx

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