Sweet Lemon + Rosemary Madeleines


I've had Madeleines on my mind for quite a while. Recently every time I saw a Madeleine pan in various stores I would pick it up, stare at it for a while and put it back. Finally I bought one, and set out to figure how to not mess them up. I had read a few horrifying details and notes alongside recipes about how easy it was to ruin them and it deterred me from even attempting. Once I got started... I wasn't sure what all the hubbub was about. They are time consuming for sure, and being organized at the very beginning certainly helps but I did not find them as difficult to make as I had imagined. Much more a labor of love than anything, as you'll probably need an entire afternoon to dedicate to these little French butter cakes. This article from the Kitchn is incredibly helpful, especially if this is your first time making them. One thing I'll be more aware of next time is to not fill the pans too much. They really only need one tablespoon of filling, and so my first tray was less perfect than my second. At this point, now that I made them and they were gobbled up quickly with no complaints, I think I'm being a little too critical. They really did turn out delicious.

For my adaptation of the classic French cake, I used meyer lemons and fresh rosemary. I really wanted that sweetness from the meyer lemons to shine and it certainly did here. They can actually smell a bit more organey as you start to to zest them. If meyer lemons aren't easy to find the classic recipe with regular lemons will work just fine. I also opted to brown the butter at the beginning, the nuttiness from that is a nice addition to the flavor. 


Sweet Lemon + Rosemary Madeleines
adapted from the Kitchn | makes 24 cakes

4 oz, or 1 stick unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice, from meyer lemons
1 tablespoon lemon zest, from meyer lemons
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

*required equipment
2 Madeleine pans

  • Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium high heat, swirling pan occasionally to distribute butter evenly. As the butter cooks, it will foam then being to brown. Take care not to overheat, as it will quickly go from browned to burnt. After it has melted, browned and smells toasted, remove from heat. Spoon 3 tablespoons of butter into a small bowl or cup and set aside, leaving the remaining butter to cool. 
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together one cup of the flour and the 2/3 cup sugar.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, salt, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. 
  • Add the egg mix to the flour and stir to incorporate until just combined. Add the 4 ounces of melted butter and stir slowly, adding the chopped rosemary, stirring to just combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour.
  • Add the reserved tablespoon of flour and the 3 tablespoons of brown butter that was set aside and whisk to combine. Using a pastry brush coat the interiors of the pans so they are completely coated. Place the pans in the freezer for one hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 350° and remove the batter from refrigerator, and one pan from the freezer. Fill each with one tablespoon of the batter. Take out your other pan and fill the same way. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pans. Bake 5 more minutes. The Madeleines will be done when the edges have browned and they feel springy to the touch.
  • Gently remove from the pans to a wire cooling rack. Serve and enjoy.