Do you like madeleine cookies? This recipe for orange madeleines cooks up these delicate, tender cookies with the flavors of fresh orange. They're easy cookies to make and perfect for tea time or other special occasions.
When it comes to fancy cookies, the Madeleine cookie might be the true winner! While they do require a special pan, the recipe is actually quite easy to make and they don't require any fancy ingredients.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- An easy cookie to elevate tea time or a dessert table.
- Great to decorate for holidays and special occasions.
- A lightly sweet dessert that goes perfectly with coffee and tea!
- Use them as a pretty decoration in your dessert presentations to add texture and make desserts look more interesting.
What Are Madeleine Cookies?
Madeleines are a type of small, shell-shaped French cakes that are super tasty! They have a really unique shape and texture and they're often made with flavors like vanilla, lemon zest, or almond extract.
The batter is baked in a special madeleine pan that has cute little shell-shaped molds, which gives the madeleines their signature shape. These cakes are small and bite-sized, with a slightly crispy outside and a soft, spongy inside.
Are Madeleines a cake or cookie? Some insist they're a cake because of their soft, spongy texture and some say they're a cookie because of their small size. In the long run, both terms are used and I don't think it really matters.
This recipe for orange madeleines gets its subtle and delicate orange flavor from two sources, orange zest, and orange juice.
Making orange madeleines is easy and requires mostly basic baking ingredients while fresh oranges give this recipe its signature flavor.
- Sugar: Just regular granulated sugar.
- Eggs: For color and structure.
- Flour: These are made with a blend of all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour.
- Baking powder: My leavener of choice for this recipe.
- Butter: Adds richness and buttery flavor.
- Vanilla: Make sure to use real vanilla extract and not imitation.
- Oranges: You will be using the peel and the juice. Choose seasonal oranges for the freshest flavor and avoid using store-bought orange juice especially since you need the zest anyway.
PRO TIP: What's the best way to zest an orange? There are several ways of getting the zest but a good microplane is my favorite method. Not only is it easy to use but it makes a really fine zest that blends well into the batter. Also, it's easy to control and avoid getting too much white pith which has a bitter flavor.
How to Make Madeleine Cookies
These easy French cookie cakes go together easily. Here are the main steps but be sure to check the recipe card for the details.
- Combine the two different kinds of flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes.
- Add the eggs and sugar to another medium-sized bowl. Mix with a stand mixer, hand mixer, or even by hand.
- Beat until they are light and fluffy. This may take some time. Mine took about 5 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients to the sugar and egg mixture and then mix them together using a spatula. Add the vanilla, orange juice, and orange zest to the bowl.
- Mix everything together.
- Use a small portion scoop to transfer the batter to the prepared madeleine pan.
- Grab both sides of the pan and bang on the countertop several times. You don't want a lot of air bubbles in the madeleines. The banging will cause the air bubbles to rise to the surface and go out.
- Place in the oven to bake.
TOP TIP: They cook really quickly, so keep an eye on them. That is one of the nice things about them though, they are so quick to make! Mine were taking 5 minutes and under.
- Remove them from the oven and invert them over a cooling rack. Then remove them from the pan and allow them to finish cooling. You can then refill your pan if necessary and finish baking the madeleines.
How to Decorate Madeleine Cookies
After the cookies are baked and fully cool you can decorate them using some of the ideas below.
- Simple presentation: The easiest way to serve up these delicate cookies is with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar.
- Add some dipped chocolate: Melt some white or dark chocolate and then dip a corner or end of the cookie in the chocolate and set it aside.
- Seasonal decoration: If you want to decorate them depending on the season add some colored sprinkles sprinkled over the top of the chocolate.
How to Store
Madeleines are best eaten fresh and even better if they're still a little bit warm.
If you have some left store them in an airtight container after they're completely cooled for up to three days at room temperature. To make them last longer, store them in the freezer for up to one month.
How to Serve
These simple cookie cakes make a nice addition to any cookie tray or dessert table. People love to enjoy madeleines with a cup of tea or coffee as a perfect little treat.
They can also be served as a dessert, perhaps with whipped cream, fruit, or a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Use them as a cookie garnish on a bowl of coconut ice cream or Greek yogurt.
They can also be dipped in a glaze icing if you want a bit more punchy flavor.
- Use a cookie scoop or one tablespoon measure to make sure your orange madeleines all come out the same size.
- Avoid overcooking them as they will turn out dry and hard.
- They cook quickly! So keep an eye on them.
- Serve fresh or even slightly warm for the best flavor.
I test them by lightly pressing on the center of the cookie. It should feel just slightly underbaked, very slightly.
Yes, if you want them to have their authentic shell-like shape and texture having the pan is 100% necessary.
They are light, airy sponge cakes that when cooked properly are tender and soft. They aren't super sweet cookies and these have a hint of orange flavor to them.
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Orange Madeleine Cookies
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 10 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- white and semi sweet chocolate optional for dipping
- coconut oil optional for smoother melting
- sprinkles optional
- Preheat oven to 385 degrees.
- Prep your madeleine pan. If it is non stick and in good shape, you may not need to do anything to it. I like to butter just for a safe guard. You can even spray if you prefer the simplicity, which I generally do.
- Combine flours, baking powder and salt in small bowl and set aside.
- In another medium sized bowl, add eggs and sugar. You can mix with a stand mixer, hand mixer (which I did), or even by hand. Beat until they are light and fluffy. Mine took about 5 minutes. Next, add in flour mixture. At this point I like to combine with a spatula. Add in remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
- Now, scoop into pans. I used a small portion scoop, linked in post. Next, grab both sides of the pan and bang on the counter top several times. You don't want a lot of air bubbles in the madeleines. The banging will cause the air bubbles to rise to the surface and go out. Now, the only caution here is not to bang so hard you dent your pan. 🙂
- Place in oven. Now these will bake really quickly, so keep an eye on them. That is one of the nice things about them though, they are so quick to make! Mine were taking 5 minutes and under. I text them by lightly pressing on the center of the cookie. It should feel just slightly under baked, very slightly.
- Remove from oven and invert over cooling rack. I only have 1 pan, so I continued to fill and bake until they were all done. All together it took under 20 minutes.
- If you are dipping, melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in microwave. I used about ¼ cup each chocolate as I only dipped the corners. If you are dipping more, you will need more chocolate. If you want, add a teaspoon of coconut oil. This will result in a smoother and slightly thinner chocolate to dip in. I didn't, but it is certainly a great option.
- If you are making these Valentine's themed, put sprinkles on while the chocolate is still wet.
- Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!