For the Hostess with the Mostess: Madeleines

This afternoon I wanted to whip up a quick hostess gift to take to a friend and her husband who invited us over to their house for dinner tonight. (My deliberate effort to find a quick recipe didn't reflect any lack of appreciation for the dinner invitation or our hosts, but rather, a desire to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen on a day when it was 103 degrees outside.)

I decided that some madeleines should make a lovely hostess gift. I found a recipe on with very favorable reviews that was very quick to put together. You just beat some eggs and sugar together, add vanilla, salt and lemon zest, mix in flour, and pour in melted butter. Including melting and cooling the butter, zesting the lemon, and buttering the madeleine molds, it only took about 10 minutes before I had my first pan of madeleines in the oven.

I used a #50 scoop (slightly over one tablespoon) to parcel out the batter into the buttered molds, and I got 24 madeleines. My madeleine molds are nonstick with a dark-colored finish, and my first batch came out a little too dark. I lowered the oven temperature and baked the second pan at 350 degrees. They came out perfectly.

The madeleines had a beautiful golden brown crust with a wonderful firm texture. The inside of the cakes was dense and buttery with a bright lemon flavor (I added an entire large lemon's worth of zest, which was definitely more than half a teaspoon). These were incredibly delicious, and quite beautiful to boot, even without any powdered sugar or extra adornment. To be honest, I now feel a little silly for putting so much time and effort into the Keswick Hall pistachio madeleines I tried last winter; these are much quicker to make, and just as delicious.

I plan to return to this recipe regularly from now on. For a very small investment of time and ingredients, it produces a hugely tasty and satisfying return!

Recipe: Madeleines from

Previous Post: "Stuck in the House with a Bunch of Pistachios: Nut Brittle and Madeleines," December 28, 2009.