Chef's Note: When you make Madeleines a sponge-like batter (actually a genoise) is used. And like most sponge batters it starts with a beaten mixture of eggs and sugar into which is added sifted flour. The difference between a regular sponge and a genoise is that you add warm melted butter that makes the Madeleines light and tender with a nice buttery flavor. The melted butter needs to be warm, so it does not solidify once it is added to the batter, causing streaks.
Remove the eggs from the refrigerator, and allow them to come up to room temperature, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Gather all your ingredients.
Melt the butter in a small pan, and reserve.
Combine the flour with the baking powder, and the salt, and reserve.
Add the eggs and the white and brown sugars to the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the whipping attachment, or you could use a hand-held mixer, or stand blender.
Whip at high speed until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract and the lemon zest and continue to beat for an additional minute.
Remove mixture to a bowl, and fold in the flour, one third at a time.
Chef’s Note: Be gentle with folding in the flour. As soon as the first third is incorporated, fold in the next, and the next.
Add the warm butter to the batter, and gently fold to incorporate.
Chef’s Tip: The batter can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about three days, so you don't have to make all the cookies at once.
Brush some melted butter into the recesses of a Madeline pan.
Add a dusting of flour.
Knock off the excess flour, and place the pan in the refrigerator until the melted butter re-hardens, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Chef’s Note: This step is not really necessary; however, it does help to keep the butter and flour on the pan, as you’re adding the batter.
Place a rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 375f (190c).
Chef's Note: Depending on the size of your Madeleine pan, add enough to fill the individual moulds and leave a slight mound.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
Chef’s Tip: When you lightly touch the domed top of the Madeleine and it springs back, they are done. If you bake them any longer, they will come out dry.
Remove from oven, turn the pan over and give it a tap. The Madeleines should drop out of the moulds.
If you are using the lemon glaze, mix the powdered sugar with the lemon juice and brush on the Madeleines while still warm.
Allow them to cool, preferably on a wire rack, and then serve. Enjoy.
A bit of history: Marcel Proust made the Madeleine famous in his novel 'Remembrance of Things Past'. Their origin is a little fuzzy, but it seems to have all started in the French town of Commercy, in the region of Lorraine, during the 18th century. One story is that these tea cakes were served to Stanislaw Lezczynski, Duke of Lorraine, and he liked them so much he named them "Madeleines'' after the girl who made them.