PASCALE'S KITCHEN: Making madeleines - small, yellow, flaky, buttery

The key to these spongy cookies is to prepare the dough the day before.

Madeleines were made famous by French novelist Marcel Proust (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Madeleines were made famous by French novelist Marcel Proust
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Here’s a riddle: What are small, yellow, flaky, buttery and fluffy, and are shaped like small clams? Why, madeleine cookies, of course! This popular French cookie became famous after French novelist Marcel Proust wrote in his book In Search of Lost Time how after taking a bite of a madeleine cookie that had been dipped in tea, he was instantly taken back in time to delightful childhood memories.
There are a number of theories about the origin of madeleine cookies, which are traditionally made in the shape of Saint-Jacques shells. Some people say they are named for a young woman named Madeleine who lived in Commercy, in North-Eastern France, in the 18th century, and who’d prepared cookies for the Polish king, Stanislaus Leszczyński, who was living in exile in the Lorraine region. Others believe they are named for Mary Magdalene from the New Testament.
The cookies are made from four main ingredients: flour, butter, eggs and sugar. The result is a spongy cookie that can also include vanilla, orange, lemon or chocolate.
One of the most important steps when preparing madeleine cookies is preparing the dough the day before. And they should be eaten the same day if possible, or at least frozen for future use. Then, all you have to do is take them out of the freezer and heat them in the oven for a couple minutes. They will taste as if they are fresh out of the oven.
It’s extremely important to sift the flour and cocoa powder.
If you don’t have time to prepare the dough the day before, then make sure to let it sit in the fridge for at least six hours before preparing the cookies.
You can add icing or powdered sugar to the madeleine cookies.
It’s extremely important to grease and flour the baking pan. After adding the flour, turn the pan upside down so that any excessive flour falls off.
Add the batter to an icing bag and then squeeze the batter out into each cupcake holder until it’s ²⁄3 full. When you’ve finished filling the entire pan, tap it forcefully a couple times so that all the batter settles.

VANILLA MADELEINES
You can enhance this recipe with any additions you want. Also, they are nice with a dusting of powdered sugar on top.
Makes 12 to 15 cookies.
100 gr. butter (or oil if you prefer the cookies to be parve)
2 eggs
¾ cup (120 gr.) sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
²⁄3 cup (100 gr.) flour, sifted
1 tsp. (5 gr.) baking powder
lemon zest from ¼ lemon
pinch of salt
For pan:
Butter-flavor oil spray
Sifted flower
Melt the butter in the microwave by heating for a few seconds at a time. Let butter come to room temperature.
Whip eggs with an eggbeater on high speed. While whipping, gradually add sugar and vanilla sugar. Mix until yellow and fluffy. Remove eggbeater and fold in flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Mix well and add salt and melted butter.
Mix and then cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge overnight or at least 12 hours.
Grease a muffin pan and then dust with flour. Fill the muffin papers 2/3 full. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 12-15 minutes. Remove and let sit for a minute or two before removing madeleine cookies and placing them on a wire rack to cool down. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 15 minutes on first day. 30 minutes on next day.
Status: Dairy or parve.
Dark chocolate madeleines. (Photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)Dark chocolate madeleines. (Photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
DARK CHOCOLATE MADELEINES
Makes 12 to15 cookies.
100 gr. butter (or oil if you prefer the cookies to be parve)
2 eggs
¼ cup (50 gr.) sugar
2 Tbsp. quality honey
80 gr. flour, sifted
20 gr. cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp. (5 gr.) baking powder
Zest from ¼ orange
Pinch of salt
For pan:
Butter-flavor oil spray
Sifted flower
Frosting:
50 gr. white chocolate
½ tsp. oil
Melt the butter in the microwave by heating for a few seconds at a time. Let butter come to room temperature.
Whip eggs with an eggbeater on high speed. While whipping, gradually add sugar. Add the honey and mix until yellow and fluffy. Remove eggbeater and fold in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and orange zest. Mix well and add salt and melted butter.
Mix and then cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge overnight or at least 12 hours.
Grease a muffin pan and then dust with flour. Fill the muffin papers 2/3 full. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and let sit for a minute or two before removing madeleine cookies and placing them on a wire rack to cool down. Place the white chocolate and the oil in a bowl and melt by heating a few seconds at a time in the microwave. Transfer to an icing bag and spread thin lines on cookies. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 15 minutes on first day. 30 minutes on next day.
Status: Dairy or Parve.
Green madeleines. (Photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)Green madeleines. (Photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
GREEN MADELEINES
Makes 12 to 15 cookies.
100 gr. butter (or oil if you prefer the cookies to be parve)
2 eggs
¾ cup (120 gr.) sugar
²⁄3 cup (100 gr.) flour, sifted
1 heaping tsp. matcha powder
1 heaping tsp. (5 gr.) baking powder
Zest from ¼ lemon
2-3 drops quality vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. candied hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
¼ tsp. salt
For pan:
Butter-flavor oil spray
Sifted flower
Icing:
100 gr. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Topping:
2 Tbsp. candied nuts, chopped coarsely
Place the butter in a bowl and melt in the microwave a few seconds at a time. Remove and let come to room temperature.
Whip eggs with an eggbeater on high speed. While whipping, gradually add sugar and vanilla sugar. Mix until yellow and fluffy. Remove eggbeater and fold in flour, matcha powder, baking powder, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix well and add salt and melted butter.
Mix and then cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge overnight or at least 12 hours.
Grease a muffin pan and then dust with flour. Fill the muffin papers 2/3 full. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and let sit for a minute or two before removing madeleine cookies and placing them on a wire rack to cool down. Pour the powdered sugar and lemon juice into a bowl and mix well. Spread the icing on the cookies and sprinkle with nuts. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 15 minutes on first day. 30 minutes on next day.
Status: Dairy or Parve.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.