Living in Sugar

Brown Sugar Madeleines

Hello and happy Tuesday! Man it feels good to be writing again — it’s been a while! But! I’m back from my California trip (recap coming soon!) and after a weekend of rest and relaxation, I’m ready to bake and cook again! Sometimes you just need a break, you know? But here I am today with a wonderful recipe, Brown Sugar Madeleines! yum!

I’ve wanted to make madeleines for a while now {their shell shape is so intriguing don’t you think?} but you need a special madeleine pan that, while inexpensive ($11.50), does take up more space in your kitchen. So I may try to “hack” these cookies and make them without the pan, but for now, I purchased one just to get the traditional shape of the cookie.

So back to the cookies, Madeleines a traditional French cookie that are very small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape acquired from being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions. ( i.e. the pan pictured above.)

In traditional recipes, génoise cake batter is used. A génoise cake uses air whipped into the batter instead of using chemical leavening to provide volume. The flavor is similar to, but somewhat lighter than, sponge cake. Traditional recipes can also include very finely ground nuts, usually almonds. A variation uses lemon zest, for a pronounced lemony taste. I ended up using a little bit of lime zest in mine to brighten the batter up a bit — also I didn’t have any lemons, so you work with what you’ve got. ha!


I also used brown sugar instead of regular granulated sugar as I wanted a richer and slightly deeper flavor to the cakes. Overall, I don’t think that the brown sugar changed the consistency of the cakes much, but they did come out slightly darker than I think they would have, had I used white sugar. I also felt as though I needed to add a bit more brown sugar to the recipe to achieve the desired consistency of the batter.

As you experiment with this recipe I hope you’ll let me know how it goes! If you want to substitute the brown sugar for white, just cut back the measurement by half (1/3 Cup white sugar instead of 2/3 Cup brown sugar)

Anyway! I ended up loving this recipe and ate most of the madeleines myself…they’re just so light and fluffy and addicting — someone send help!

I hope you are enjoying your Tuesday! See ya next time!



Brown Sugar Madeleines

A fluffy cookie wrapped in a crunchy sugar shell

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Servings 18 Cookies



  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime zest
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar for decoration


  1. Directions

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a madeleine mold; set aside.

  3. Melt butter and let cool to room temperature.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and salt at high speed until light.
  5. Beating constantly, gradually add sugar; and continue beating at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and ribbons form in bowl when beaters are lifted, 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Sift flour into egg mixture 1/3 at a time, gently mixing after each addition.
  7. Add lemon/lime zest and pour melted butter around edge of batter. Quickly but gently fold butter into batter. Spoon batter into molds; it will mound slightly above tops.
  8. Bake 14 to 17 minutes, or until cakes are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.
  9. Use the tip of the knife to loosen madeleines from pan; invert onto rack. Immediately sprinkle warm cookies with confectioners sugar. Repeat with remaining batter.
  10. Madeleines are best eaten the day they're baked. Leftover madeleines should be kept in an airtight container. 

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