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Madeleines are those very small sponge cake cookies with the characteristic shell shape and indentations.  Madeleines are native to northeastern France.  The batter used to create madeleines is called a genoise cake batter, a type of Italian sponge cake batter that does not use any sort of chemical leavening.  Genoise batter is used to make a variety of sweets in French cooking.  To learn my recipe, keep reading.

Magdalenas are just a Spanish version of the well known French madeleines.  Magdalena batter is exactly the same as madeleine batter except that magdalenas have a little bit of lemon zest added to them.  They are also made with olive oil, not butter.  The biggest difference between magdalenas and madeleines is that magdalenas are baked in the shape of muffins, not shell-shaped cookies.  Because of this very characteristic muffin shape, magdalenas are often the word used in Spanish to refer to muffins of any kind.  Because of this, you can find magdalenas made out of almost anything, (see my recipes for Magdalenas de Banana or  Magdalenas de Coco), because there are lots of ways to make a muffin.  But its good to understand that the traditional magdalena is just a lemony madeleine.  The word "quequitos" is also sometimes used to refer to muffins in Spanish, except that quequitos are usually topped with some sort of icing and so in general, quequitos should be used to refer to cupcakes.  Magdalenas refer to cupcakes without a topping, which makes them muffins.  Have I got you confused yet?  Please forgive me.

Here is my recipe for magadalenas, or a madeleine with lemon zest.  I use olive oil instead of butter as is the Spanish custom.  Note that when you use oil in little cupcakes or muffins like this, they have a tendency to burn easier than they would if you used butter.  For that reason, although the cooking time is very short on these, only about 12 minutes, it is still good to stay in the kitchen and keep an eye on them - a difference of even a minute can mean a burnt magdalena!  You can spice up your madeleines or magdalenas by dipping them in chocolate or lemon icing if desired.  I decided to sprinkle them with confectionery sugar today. 
Madeleines with a Lemon Zest:

2 eggs
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup of olive oil (you can use vegetable oil or butter if don't have any)
1 tbsp. lemon zest (you can use lemon juice if don't have any)
  • Beat eggs, salt and vanilla together until well mixed.
  • Add in sugar and beat for about seven minutes, or until batter is creamy and thick and has no visible air bubbles.
  • Sift flour into batter and fold gently until well combined.
  • Add lemon zest and fold until combined.
  • Add oil around sides of batter and fold again until all combined.
  • Grease your muffin tin or madelein pan or both.
  • Bake for approximately 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Make sure to set a timer and keep an eye on them because they will burn very quickly if left in too long.


Joanne said...

I love madeleines. It's way too easy to eat too many. They are so light and delightful. Great recipe.

Claire said...

Mmm they look buttery and delicious. Sounds like a great recipe!

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. said...

Nice post explaining the difference between the two!! They look lovely and I like your addition of the lemon zest!

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