Madeleine cookies are delicious cake-like cookies with a crispy exterior and soft interior. This Lemon Madeleines recipe makes French butter cookies with bright citrus flavor. They’re the perfect companion to a cup of coffee or tea.
If you’re looking to brighten up your winter days, bring a little sunshine and citrus in with these lemon madeleine cookies! We’re sharing all about how to make madeleines today…and the history of these little sweet treats.
Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, these shaped cookies are ideal for wedding or baby showers…or a quick Easter treat.
Are madeleines cookies or cake?
If you have yet to taste Madeleine cookies, it can be difficult to understand exactly what this classic French dessert is. Technically a French butter cookie, the lovely Madeleine has an interior similar in texture to pound cake. Madeleine cookies are baked in a special pan to give the cookies their signature shell shape.
Why are they called Madeleines?
According to one story, the name “Madeleine” was given to the cookies by King Louis XV, to honor his father in-law’s cook, Madeleine Paulmier. (source)
Another story gives credit to pastry chef Jean Avice, who worked in the kitchens of Prince Talleyrand.
Can you make Madeleine cookies in a muffin pan?
To give the lemon Madeleine cookies the classic shell shape, they must be baked in a Madeleine pan. That being said, the cake texture of the cookies will allow them to be baked in a mini muffin pan. Whichever method you use, be sure to grease the wells of the pan to prevent the cookies from sticking.
In addition to a Madeleine pan, you will also need the following supplies:
- electric mixer – a stand mixer or hand mixer will do
- mixing bowls
- plastic wrap
- powdered sugar shaker or a fine mesh sieve, for dusting the cookies
- lemon zester
- wire rack to cool the cookies on after baking
Lemon Madeleines Recipe Notes
- The cookie batter requires chilling time in a refrigerator, for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer the batter rests, the better, so this is a great make-ahead cookie recipe. After you make the batter, transfer it to a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days.
- To prevent air pockets in the cookies, you will need to release the air. To do this, place the batter into the pan, then rap the bottom of the pan against a hard surface. A countertop works well for this.
Do Madeleines freeze well?
Madeleine cookies freeze beautifully! However, if you plan to freeze them, wait to dust them with powdered sugar until just before serving them.
To freeze the cookies:
- Bake the cookies per the recipe directions (shown below).
- Allow the cookies to cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies are cool, transfer them to a freezer-safe, airtight container or place them into zip-top plastic bags.
- Transfer containers to a safe location in the freezer to prevent them from being crushed. For the best flavor, use the cookies within 3 months.
Lemon Madeleines are a fantastic treat alongside a cup of coffee, tea, or a glass of Sparkling Raspberry Mint Lemonade. They’re beautiful too, making them the perfect dessert for a bridal or baby shower.
More Lemon Desserts
If you love the lemon Madeleines, be sure to try these lemon dessert recipes, too!
Lemon Madeleine Cookies
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (plus extra for coating pan)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Juice and zest of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup salted butter (melted) (plus extra for coating pan)
- Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and coat a madeleine pan with butter then sprinkle each section with flour. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Using a stand or electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until creamy. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and continue mixing.
- Melt the butter and slowly mix into your wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Fold in dry ingredients just until combined. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and allow for the batter to rest for about 30 minutes.
- Fill the molds of your madeleine pan about ¾ of the way and tap to ensure no air bubbles form.
- Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until edges become golden brown.
- Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.