Lemon Thyme Madeleines

Not to pat myself on the back but I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping to my weekly posting schedule. Mondays have been working out for me pretty well, except yesterday I found myself unvoluntarily distracted a good part of the day and didn’t get a chance to get my finished blog post out before the day came to a close. So as a bit of a treat and just because I feel like it (“It’s my blog and I can do what I want to, do what I want to”), here’s a bonus post for you. Oh and one more thing, I’m going to be starting a Monday night pottery class in a few short weeks (part of my Sunday Dinner world domination plan) therefore my weekly post day may change, but if you go ahead and just subscribe to the blog it won’t matter when I post you won’t miss a beat…I know real subtle.


French Madeleines are my absolute favorite cookie, I didn’t realize that I even had a favorite cookie and then it dawned on me that whenever I’m someplace where there is a madeleine in my presence its the first thing I go for. If I’m out running errands and a pit stop at Starbucks becomes necessary then along with my grande caramel thingy, I’ll grab a pack of those madeleines strategically placed right by the register.  My first experience with the Madeleine was as a child baking Christmas cookies with my favorite aunt. Every year my aunt will lock herself up in the house for three days straight, baking one buttery sugary confection after the next and as a child I would assist her in this mad behavior. There were always madeleines and I loved everything about that cookie, its cool shell shape, the sweet lemon scented buttery crumb reminicensit of a pound cake, I loved how it always held its shape even after being dunked numerous times in a cup of milk or sleepy time tea.  My aunt gifted me one of her large madeleine molds many years ago yet I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually made them myself.

Today I had a mad craving for my favorite cookie. The was weather prime for baking. Cool, damp and rainy. I pulled out my beloved cookie mold and a copy of the cookbook “Baking with Julia” surely the American doyenne of French cooking was sure to have a foolproof recipe. And foolproof as I’m sure the recipe is, I passed on it for a shorter and seemingly faster version that I found on the Food52 website.  When you’re home on Easter break with two energetic school aged kids and words like “Genoise” appear in a recipe sadly that’s a telltale sign to move on. The recipe on Food52 was for a winter spiced madeleine which I’m sure is divine but sill not quite what I was looking for, however upon second look at the recipe I could clearly see that the base recipe for a classic madeleine was there so with a few teaks here and there I decided to go for it.

Lemon Thyme Madeleines

Like any good cook I love putting my own spin on a classic recipe and doing something a little unexpected. Lemon zest is one of the key ingredients in several basic Madeleine recipes but I decided to take the lemon flavor to a different level by adding one of my favorite herbs, lemon thyme.  Lemon Thyme has the freshness of english thyme and the brightness of lemon making for an herb that is one of the most versatile in the kitchen.  Lavender, chocolate and mint also translate well in a madeleine. Next time I’m thinking a little rose or orange flower water and did I mention that this cookie does double duty as a perfect tea biscuit. 

Makes 24 large cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • leaves from 2 large sprigs of lemon thyme
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, butter the madeleine molds.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together with a fork and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the sugar, lemon zest and eggs until thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Add honey, lemon juice and vanilla and continue beating.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, add the melted butter and thyme leaves and continue folding until smooth. Spoon the batter into the molds and bake for about 10 minutes or until madeleines are golden brown.  Remove and transfer to wire rack to cool, then dust with powdered sugar (optional). Madeleines are best eaten right away but they will keep stored in an airtight container for a few days, not that they’ll last that long.


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