Baking a Memory: The Madeleine, a Cakey Cookie

by Melody Kettle


I wasn't In Search of Lost Time, but I was  looking for something new.  I was in my kitchen - enjoying my afternoon antioxidants - when I recalled Grandma's Madeleine pans. But where were they?  I knew I saw them somewhere?  

Voila! In the deepest depths of my baking cabinet, below the flour sifter, under the full sheet, half sheet, pound, angel food, and cupcake pans, and even beneath a dozen glass pie plates, lay my Grandmother's unused Madeleine pans. Determined to bake a memory, I emptied my cabinet. 

I won't be as long winded as Proust: I baked the cakey cookies  and they were,  as my friend, Sharon, described them, like "little pillows of vanilla air."  

Do try to eat them as soon as possible, they are best within the first two hours out of the oven. Here's the recipe I used, though you will find many variations.  Go bake yourself a memory. 

Madeleines (French Butter Cakes)

2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F Generously butter and flour pan for large madeleines (about 3x1 1/4 inches). Using electric mixer, beat eggs and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl just to blend. Beat in vanilla, lemon peel and salt. Add flour; beat just until blended. Gradually add cooled melted butter in steady stream, beating just until blended. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each indentation in pan. Bake until puffed and brown, about 10-16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently remove from pan. Repeat process, buttering and flouring pan before each batch.  Dust cookies with powdered sugar, and eat as soon as possible.