These soft and buttery Citrus Madeleines are the perfect cake-like cookies for tea time with a pop of citrus flavor. Using simple ingredients and citrus extracts, these orange or lemon madeleine cookies are sure to be a hit with a warm mug of tea or coffee for the ultimate comfort.
If you’re looking for a cookie that is light and sweet but still satisfying, then you’re at the right place. This recipe is one of my favorites because it’s the perfect decadent cookie with a hint of fresh citrus flavor. Use fresh citrus extracts to make orange, lime or lemon madeleines.
What is a Madeleine?
A madeleine is a small cake-like cookie that originated in France. They have a distinct shell shape that is formed by using a special shell-shaped cookie pan. In Europe, they are usually served with coffee and tea in the afternoon as a sweet treat that won’t weigh you down.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Made with homemade extracts. Though you can make these cookies with storebought extract, the bright and bold citrus flavor comes from the homemade citrus extract.
- They make a great snack. These sponge cakes are typically enjoyed during tea time which makes them the perfect light and sweet snack for breaking up a busy workday.
- They are aesthetically pleasing. There’s something about madeleines that scream fancy and that has all to do with their classic shell shapes.
- Change up the flavor. These versatile cookies can be made with virtually any extract you desire to change up the flavor of the buttery cake-like base.
Ingredients and Equipment Needed
- Eggs – Help binds the cookies together and also help them set properly.
- Granulated Sugar – Sweetens up the cookies.
- Citrus Extract – Gives the cookies a bold citrus flavor. Use store-bought or homemade citrus extract. Lemon, orange or lime extracts taste great in this recipe.
- Citrus Zest – Adds even more flavor and specs of colorful citrus peel.
- All-Purpose Flour – The main dry ingredient brings the batter together.
- Baking Powder – Helps the madeleines become light and fluffy.
- Melted Butter – Butter that is melted and cooled is crucial for the texture of this dessert.
Madeleine Pan – For this recipe, you’ll need to purchase a madeleine pan, a shell-shaped cookie sheet.
How to Make Citrus Madeleines
Cream the eggs and sugar. Beat together the eggs and granulated sugar using a hand or stand mixer set on medium speed until smooth and creamy– 10 minutes. You’ll know the mixture is ready when is flows like warm caramel sauce. Fold in the citrus zest and extract just until combined.
Fold in the remaining ingredients. Add in the flour and baking powder and fold them in gently so the egg mixture does not deflate. Fold in the melted and cooled butter. Place the madeleine batter in the fridge to chill for one hour.
Bake the citrus madeleines. Near the end of the chilling step, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a standard madeleine pan with melted butter and non-stick cooking spray. Scoop batter into the molds until they are ¾ full (I used a 1 tablespoon scoop) and bake until the madeleines are light brown– about 12-13 minutes. Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack to cool before serving.
- Melt the butter before I start working on the rest of the ingredients so it has time to cool— you want the butter to still be liquid, but not warm enough that it will cook the eggs.
- The citrus flavor in these cookies is completely customizable. Make lemon madeleines by using only lemon extract and zest or do the same with orange. You can use a mix of the two in any combination that suits you best.
- Don’t overfill the pan with batter or they will spill out the sides.
- Make sure the eggs are room temperature before making the batter to ensure even texture when baking.
- Since the madeleine pan has many ridges, it’s important to make sure you both butter and grease the pan so they come out easily.
- Make sure they are completely cooled and set before transferring them to a wire rack.
Change up the flavors in these cookies by adding or swapping some of these fun options:
- Matcha powder
- Rainbow sprinkles
- Key limes or Meyer lemons
- Gingerbread or Pumpkin Spice
- Brown sugar
- Cocoa powder
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Brown butter
Both! While they have a mostly cake-like texture, they are also small and dense enough to qualify as a cookie making them a perfect hybrid.
They usually have them for late afternoon tea with hot tea or coffee.
While the recipe has similar ingredients and taste, the main difference is that ladyfingers have a long shape whereas madeleines are shaped like long-shelled scallops.
More Citrus Desserts
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons citrus extract, (lemon, lime or orange)
- 2 teaspoons citrus zest, (lemon, lime or orange)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1 stick)
- Beat together the eggs and granulated sugar using a hand or stand mixer set on medium speed until smooth and creamy– 10 minutes. You’ll know the mixture is ready when is flows like warm caramel sauce.
- Add the citrus extract and zest and mix just to combine.
- Add in the flour and baking powder and fold them in gently so the egg mixture does not deflate.
- Fold in the melted and cooled butter.
- Place the madeleine batter in the fridge to chill for one hour.
- Near the end of the chilling step, preheat the oven to 350F and grease a standard madeleine pan with melted butter and non-stick cooking spray.
- Scoop batter into the molds until they are ¾ full (I used a 1 tablespoon scoop) and bake until the madeleines are light brown–about 12-13 minutes.
- Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack to cool.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.