Madeleines – Marcel Proust and his heavenly cookies

Madeleines Cookies Recipe

Marcel Proust unintentionally immortalized madeleines in his novel Remembrance of Things Past. He vividly describes the moment in which he dips these sweet scalloped-shaped cakes into his tea and how it magically brought back warm memories of his childhood.

She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called petites madeleines, which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place…at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory…
— Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 1: Swann’s Way. Marcel Proust.

Although they are often categorized under cookies, they are actually more like sponge cakes. Bite-sized wonders that Pizzaboy eyed from a distance and stuffed into his mouth, in one giant bite.

Proust was not exaggerating. These madeleines were exceptionally comforting and sensational dipped in my cup tea.

Marcel Proust cookie recipe

Recipe adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

2/3 cup of plain flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Marcel Proust Madeleines cookie

1/ In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
2/ In a medium-sized bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
3/ Beat the eggs and sugar together on a medium-high speed until pale, thick and light. Approximately 7-10 minutes.
4/ Add the vanilla extract.

Madeleines Cookies

5/ Gently fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula, followed by the melted butter.
6/ Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter, this will prevent a skin forming over the batter. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Marcel Proust Madeleines Cookies

7/ Preheat oven to 200 degrees (400F)
8/ Butter a 12 full-sized madeleine molds. Dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess.
9/ Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don’t worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven’s heat will take care of that.
10/ Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched.
11/ Remove from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds. Transfer the cookies to a rack to just warm or room temperature.

Madeleines Cookies Recipe

Tips from the cookbookmaniac
* My madeleines turned out a little too brown. The dark non-stick mold had caused the madeleines to brown too much. A much lighter or aluminium pan is preferable.
* Allowing the batter to rest for 3 hours or more in the refrigerator helps create a nice hump that is characteristic of the madeleine.
* I didn’t have any lemons when I decided to make these. I substituted with limes and it worked out fine.
* Crazy Miss Amy forgot to dust the madeleines with icing sugar before picture-taking and consumption. Heck, these are already non-traditional lime babies. They were still lovely without it anyways.

Marcel Proust biscuit cookie

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  1. Ju (The Little Teochew)

    Hi Amy! You have a beautiful blog. Your photos are excellent and your madeleines are divine!!

  2. Trissa

    Your madeleines are lovely – I can imagine how delicious they would be with a nice cup of tea and a great book…. I mean a great cookbook! 🙂

  3. Jo @

    When I look at posts like this I wish I was more of a baker. Madeleines are indeed heavenly as are your photos.

  4. Amy @ cookbookmaniac

    Ju, for some people it comes easily, but I have to try really hard to make it look half decent. Thanks for the kudos!

    Trissa, these are perfect for those wonderful moments!

    Jo, I never use to bake often, but since i started blogging my baked goods are turning out better than usual

  5. Anh

    Amy, the madeleines look wonderful. I love it 🙂

  6. Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    These look perfect! I am drinking a cup of tea right now and am feeling the lack of madeleines quite profoundly.

  7. Yen@foodforfour

    They are gorgeous looking madeleines. I wouldn’t mind having them with my cup of tea tomorrow morning.

  8. MaryMoh

    Beautiful and mouth-watering! I made madeleines once and failed completely. I’ll have to try another time.

  9. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella

    You did a gorgeous job. I agree, some food, that presents itself at the time that you need it most, is incredibly comforting! 🙂

  10. Helen (grabyourfork)

    Heavenly indeed! I keep meaning to buy myself a madeleine tin and oh I don’t think they’re too brown. Those crispy edges are the best bit 🙂

  11. betty

    ive always wanted to make madelines – just need to get a madeline tray :O) yours look great by the way!

  12. ec

    these look good and yummy!!! Are Madeleines hard to make?