When I lived in Paris, madeleines quickly became one of my all-time favorite afternoon treats. I always used to buy these from bakeries until I realized just how easy they are to make at home. Made in a special shell-shaped pan, they have a beautiful fluted crust and soft, spongy interior. The best ones have just a hint of lemon zest, and in this recipe–which I adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours–I used a whole vanilla bean in lieu of the extract. Scraping the fragrant seeds into the batter infuses it with an intense vanilla flavor. Once you try a warm, oven-fresh madeleine with a cup of coffee or tea, you’ll never be able to eat the store-bought kind again.

Making madeleines is surprisingly simple. Especially if you prep your ingredients in advance, you can mix everything together in 10 minutes or so, bake them for 12, and enjoy fresh madeleines with a cup of tea in half an hour start-to-finish. And that's exactly what I did the other day when experiencing a madeleine craving. I turned on the oven and got to work. The effort was well worth it...

Thanks Julia for my madeleine pan!!


Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

Makes 12 madeleines

1 vanilla bean

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush your madeleine mold with melted butter and sprinkle with flour; shake out the excess.

Split the vanilla bean in two on a cutting board using a paring knife. Carefully scrape the seeds from each half with the tip of the knife into the bowl of melted butter. Let cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, rub together the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers until well combined. Using the whisk attachment beat in the eggs one at a time on medium-high speed until light and foamy for about 3 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula, followed by the melted butter.

Spoon the batter into each mold, filling each one about ¾ full. (No need to smooth out the batter.) Bake the madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes, until the centers are puffed up and golden brown.

Carefully remove the hot madeleines to a cooling rack to cool until just warm. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve with a cup of tea or coffee.

NOTE: Dorie Greenspan recommends chilling the batter, with plastic wrap pressed to the surface, for 3 hours (or even overnight) prior to baking for a better “bump” on the madeleines. I’ve done it both ways with good results, so it just depends how much time you have!

STORAGE: They can be kept for a day in an airtight container, but they are best eaten fresh and warm!