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 Leszczyĕski, 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.
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
cup (100 gr.) flour, sifted
1 tsp. (5 gr.) baking powder lemon zest from ¼ lemon pinch of salt
Butter-flavor oil spray
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.