Orange and Brown Butter Madeleines, Spring Get Together and Friends

C. and I have always liked to entertain and cook for our friends. After all, I come from the land where everything is discussed, solved and celebrated around a table of good food. But ever since we became parents, it has not been so easy to keep that up. Our nights end at 8pm, dinner can be a messy fare and time for long chats is limited to five minutes. But this weekend, we managed to plan a get together with close friends, which was much needed. Not too many, only ten, which given the circumstances is a perfect number.

For dessert, I had planned a “build your own” sundae bar with homemade chocolate chip cookie crumbs, candy bars, fruit toppings. I also made these orange and brown butter madeleines to finish the meal with coffee and tea, but unfortunately, no one ever made it to dessert.

I came up with this recipe years ago while I was working at my first fine dining restaurant and still attending culinary school. My chef at the time held that ship tightly and never gave any of us any freedom to try anything new (and of course, I don’t blame her). But one day, she let me play around and turned a regular madeleine recipe into this one with the addition of lots of orange zest, almond flour and brown butter. Needless to say, I was very excited and everyone seemed to enjoy them.

A few days later, I was taking a petits fours class with a well known pastry chef and the subject of madeleines came up. He said to the class, “as far as I’m concerned, almond flour and brown butter only belong in financiers and you will never see that in any of my recipes”. You can imagine the embarrassment. I deflated then and there. Some chefs really had the ability to do that to me.

Orange and Brown Butter Madeleines

6 eggs
250 grams sugar
Zest of 1 orange
2 tsp vanila extract
225 grams cake flour, sifted
110 grams almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
250 grams butter, browned and cooled

Start by making the brown butter. Place the butter in small saucepan and heat until it starts to bubble and sizzle. Watch it closely as it will start to brown soon after the sizzle diminishes slightly. When it smells like roasted nuts and the bottom of the pan is brown, remove the pan from the heat, strain the butter and let it cool.

Place the eggs, sugar, orange zest and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip until light and thick, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder. Mix until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Slowly add the brown butter as the machine is running. Let butter incorporate into the batter and continue adding it.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold with a spatula to make sure all ingredients are well mixed. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Pipe batter into madeleine molds. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes (when “bumps have appeared), reduce oven to 375F and continue baking for 5 more or until browned.

Post Script- I just want to clarify that this chef never had mean intentions. He didn’t even know that I had made these madeleines. He was simply voicing his opinion. He happens to be a super sweet chef who is always ready to share. I just had to clarify that. Thank you!

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70 Responses to “Orange and Brown Butter Madeleines, Spring Get Together and Friends”

  1. Anonymous says:

    They look delicious. I’m tired of the standard recipe and can’t wait to try something new. Forget the chef- he was just jealous because he didn’t think of it first! And, if the sundae bar is still open….Thanks for sharing.

  2. Charlotte says:

    These look great! I love orange, and I love brown butter, and I love almonds. I don’t believe that you have to stick to certain ingredients to get a delicious madeleine. These look sunny and fresh and gorgeous.

  3. How lovely! You blog makes me want to play with my food and take photos of it rather than eat it.

  4. Tartelette says:

    You know, I once had an assistant tell me that I was a *bada$$* French pastry chef…I still think he meant it as a compliment….ehehe! Olive oil or brown butter are perfect with madeleines…

  5. morgana says:

    Madre mía, me dicen eso a mí, con lo susceptible que soy, y seguro que me echo a llorar allí mismo.

    En cualquier caso, como soy una heterodoxa “revenía”, no puedo sino apoyarte. ¿Quién crearía las genialidades si nadie se saliese de las recetas de siempre? Me parece mucho más valiente probar e innovar. A mí me parece que estas madeleines tienen una pinta insuperable y seguro que estaban realmente deliciosas. Y como no entiendo nada de diferencias entre financiers, madeleines o lo que sea… Pues tan ricas que me parecen.

    A veces da gusto ser tan profana. ;-)

    Un besazo muy fuerte y enhorabuena por todas tus creaciones y por las maravillosas fotos que siempre nos regalas.

  6. Dominique says:

    A sundae bar! nice idea: we’re 12 next weekend and I’m looking for ideas… this one is perfect. And I’ll try the madeleines (only for me) tomorrow: orange, brown butter, almonds, it smells allready so good…

  7. Bron says:

    Puh! What would he know anyway…
    orange and brown butter sound perrfect to me! I’ve always loved the sundae bar idea too!

  8. Yum says:

    Those madeleines must be extremely flavorful! And I dream of your sundae bars…

  9. Christy says:

    I think that cooking and baking are open to one’s interpretation of it. If you like your madeleines with brown butter and almond meal, who’s to stop you? That’s the beauty of the culinary arts, really. If you take creativity and innovation away, how is one meant to discover better ways to do things? I’m sure that French pastry chef is very renowned and much respected, but his opinion is still just an opinion. Period.

    Btw, I make my madeleines with leatherwood honey, brown butter and coconut palm sugar, and I like them that way.

    What a pity that no one made it to dessert!! I’ll willingly eat the leftovers for them!!

  10. An original recipe! These madeleines must have a lot of flavor!



  11. Maya says:

    I have been making a variety of madeleines recently and I will be bookmarking this recipe!

  12. simplesong says:

    These look divine! Madeleines are among my favorites … thanks for sharing and perfect styling as always!

  13. Two things – rules are made to be broken (especially when you break them with brown butter), and I really really really want to know how long it took you to balance those madeleines in the first photo. Seriously.

  14. Aran says:

    First of all, I have to clarify hat the chef never knew about my concoction so he wasn’t specifically speaking about me. I don’t think he would have said anything if he knew that I was so excited about almond flour and brown butter in my madeleines. He is a super sweet person, but influential nevertheless.

    Engineer Baker- t took a couple of attempts. My son was buzzing around behind me while I was trying to shoot and when I was looking, he’d try to snatch a medeleine or two. But I have learned to be patient with that by now.

    Thank you!

  15. VeggieGirl says:

    Can’t go wrong with a glorious dessert and spending time with dear friends and family!!

  16. Bridget says:

    I think your variation of them sounds wonderful!

    I love your little cookie packages, too!

  17. tara says:

    Brown butter and orange sound fabulous, like just enough oomph to make things interesting without going overboard. The texture on these looks to die for! So pretty.

  18. Spring and beautiful colours and photos… I like a nice orange flavour in cookies too.

  19. Marta says:

    I’m not a chef, so maybe I don’t appreciate the importance of nomenclature and restriction of ingredients to certain recipes, so according to me: if it tastes good, who cares what it’s called?!
    i’m glad to see you stuck to your guns here and kept the name madellaines, though :)
    They look lovely and I congratulate your creativity :)

  20. Ana says:

    Pues si la harina de almendras y la beurre noissete son típicos ingredientes de los financiers, llamemos a estas delicias madenciers y asunto arreglado… Si es que los franceses a veces son de un triquismiquis… con almendras mantequilla avellana o sin ellas no me tomaba un par de ellas ahora mismo, con mi té de después de comer….

    Besos para todos…

  21. ChichaJo says:

    I love browned butter and almond meal and I don’t see why we can’t enjoy them in both madeleines and financiers! :) Your madeleines look perfect and I think they would be just delicious you way :)

  22. Kristin says:

    Oh my! One of my favorites and yes, I am possibly drooling over them and your imagery! So, I just need an address that I can put a self addressed envelope, with money in it and container to receive a weekly treat! Now that is the kind of wonderful I am talking about. I will try the recipe first, smile.

    Thank you for always making a visit to your blog feel like one has just taken a great sweet breath of air.

  23. Want to hear something funny? I woke up this morning thinking about brown butter madeleines. I haven’t made any for a very long time. I think this is a sign!

    Sounds marvelous.

  24. anna says:

    Being creative and doing things that have never been done before is the only way to invent new recipes! I just bought my first madeleine pan and am excited to have another way to be creative in the kitchen.

  25. THese are gorgeous aran! i am blown away with the photographs. thank you for sharing and i love this recipe must try it!

  26. Sugar Chef says:

    That stack of madeleines picture is too cute. I put beurre noisette in my madeleines too but must try almond flour now. Love your beautiful pictures Aran!!

  27. Mark says:

    J’adore your recipe for madeleines. Since I like financiers (from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme) and madeleines, this seems like a perfect combination. I just made a brown butter frosting and chocolate financiers this last week and thought that beurre noissette would be a perfect counterpoint to the rich buttery madeleines. I will try the recipe halved which should make 24 regular sized (3″) madeleines. I assume the full recipe makes 48. Thank you for using weights on your blog.

  28. Jayme Duke says:

    I absolutely love madeleines! Your posting couldn’t have come at a better time, as I’m set to receive a new madeleine pan in the mail today! I have one already, but recently purchased another, as I hate having to wait for one batch to finish before baking the second.

    Gorgeous pictures as always, and I can’t wait to try your recipe out :)

  29. Irene says:

    I understand why chefs need structure, but I’ve learned to always trust my creative instincts (ESPECIALLY when they involve browned butter and orange zest!!!!)

  30. Monique says:

    Llevo un tiempo investigando con magdalenas para buscar una recetapara los desayunos de mi hotelito,estas van a ser las proximas.

  31. Hayley says:

    With all those treats, there is no way I wouldn’t have been all over dessert! What a jealous chef, oh well, they look delicious all the same. Thanks for sharing!

  32. Melissa says:

    Some people are downright arrogant. That recipe sounds so divine, I can practically imagine the taste in my mouth. Recipe duly filed away for future use – thank you for sharing it with us!!!

  33. Aran says:

    Hayley, Melissa…- again, I didn’t mean to make him sound awful (I think I did though). He is actually a great person and very sweet. He didn’t know about my madeleine recipe so he just mentioned that as a generalization never directed towards me and never mean-spirited.

    Thanks everyone!

  34. PheMom says:

    If everyone always decided that you could only be a “purist” with recipes I am pretty sure about 99% of all the best ideas wouldn’t exist. Experiment on! They look and sound fantastic!

  35. Helene says:

    Yes becoming parents changes the way we entertain. I love your Madeleines, they are beautiful.

  36. laura says:

    Not exactly food related, but that is the most perfect shade of green! I love the sea-foamy/sherbet green against the yellow Madeleines.

  37. pat says:

    Hello Aran, I just stumbled upon your blog and your photos are gorgeous! I’m so glad I found you.

  38. cindy* says:

    i’ve had those same moments (not in pastry school, but in writing workshop)…more than anything i hated that guilty feeling, even if i wasn’t being singled out…totally understandable! it’s funny how people can push our buttons without even knowing.

    sean tried to throw out my mini madeline pan the other day…good thing i stopped him so i can try these out sometime! i haven’t made any for like 3 years…so it looks like it might be time :)

  39. Jenny says:

    I really need to get a Madeleine tin, as making these in a muffin tin wouldn’t do them justice!

    I really want to go to culinary school and learn all the purist wisdom… makes breaking the rules even better!

  40. cirque du madeleine! hehehehe. trop jolie :)

  41. I’m in for the sundae bar, too!

  42. Mercè says:

    Aran, yo no soy chef, pero pienso que si están buenas, who cares about the butter noisette! ;)
    Deliciosas! Además, llevo días con ganas de madalenas, así que provaré las tuyas! :)

  43. Mandy says:

    oh Aran, I am wondering if you are talking about that pastry chef “SC” which I admire a lot. :p Regardless of what he said, I think using brown butter and almond flour in madeleine is a good idea. :) I need to try that out one day.

  44. Dual says:

    Un saluto ed una buona giornata.Dual

  45. Aran says:

    Mandy- I love SC. He is one of the sweetest chefs and never has a mean word. i have the greatest respect in the world for him.

    Thank you!

  46. I like madeleines, they smell very good when out of the oven. heh. And wow, it must have take you some time to stack them up for the photo! :)

  47. linda says:

    Delicious to use brown butter and almond flour for the madeleines.
    Pity your friends weren’t able to eat all of the desserts.

  48. Zerogluten says:

    Todo lo que haces tiene ese toque sutil, elegante, minimalista que me gusta tanto….
    Podría estar horas mirando tus fotos y preguntándome porque yo no soy capaz de hacer algo parecido.
    Besitos sin gluten y felicidades por tu trabajo. Es siempre un gran placer venir a visitarte.

  49. I have loved madeleines since I was a child. Can’t wait to try your recipe for them. They look amazing.

  50. Tea says:


    I haven’t posted a comment recently, but I am following you post by post!
    Fabulous work as always – Madeleines are my favorite :)

  51. Patricia says:

    Lovely! It is such fun to play around with “sacred” recipes.
    See my post from a class I took where chef threw out the idea to use madeleines batter for mini muffins. I would never have thought to do it!

  52. Ana Maria says:

    Hello, my name is Ana Maria and I am from Brazil, I am writing because I find beautiful and delicious that you publish on your blog I would like to receive news from you and things hot, you can send me I will be very happy, my email:
    Please if you can send me beautiful things I thank you. Thank you and congratulations your work is magnificent

  53. Oh, these are too precious, Aran! I have got to try them, since I’m crazy for madeleines!

  54. Juliana says:

    WOW, they look great, such a delicate combination! Love your pictures!

  55. Y says:

    Tsk. I’ve come across chefs like that in my time. They always mean well, and are great teachers, but they’re so stubborn, aren’t they! :)

  56. Dawn says:

    that first pic must have been a struggle…worth it though, as I love it.

  57. Lovely! I do enjoy the Madeleine (partially the little hump on the back) and this flavour combination sounds delicious. I have seen lots of variations in recipes during my own research. Sherry Yard uses almond meal and many other variations so it obviously doesn’t matter. I always follow recipes too strictly. I think it is great to experiment.

  58. Well, this combination sounds fantastic to me! I can almost smell them from here. Beautiful photos.

  59. Anonymous says:

    The picture of these madeleines haunted me for a week before I made them. Now the scent in the house is haunting me. How can brown butter, orange zest and almonds be wrong together?

  60. MWT says:

    Dear Aran,

    Thank you for this lovely blog – I always come away feeling inspired by your beautiful food and photography. I’ve been reading for a while now but this is the first time I’ve commented…I have a question for you. Do you recommend a certain kind of madeleine pan? I’m in the market for one.

  61. Aran says:

    MWT- Sorry for the delay in my response but I am away from the country with limited access to the internet.

    I have several madeleine pans. I have stainless steel ones, non stick ones, silicon ones… I particularly like my silicon madeleine flexipan. It works great every time and it is lasting, easy to clean…

    I am looking for a vintage one just to see how they would turn out.

    Always look for something sturdy though.

    Good luck!

  62. Karin says:

    Thank you for your clear instructions on how to brown butter. I used them to make brown butter cookies.


  63. 123 123 says:

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  64. Dahan says:


    I know you described egg white powder in this post but I still have a question. So cream of tartar is not a substitute but is egg white powder the same as meringue powder?

    they look incredible by the way, but I’m sure you know that already haha :)


  65. Dahan- cream of tartar is not the same as egg white powder. cream of tartar is an acid salt and egg white powder and dehydrated egg whites. meringue powder has egg white powder in it but also other things like sugar, etc. don’t use that. hope that helped. thanks!

  66. Bri says:

    hello. i think these sound amazing. one question: what can i substitute for the cake flour to make it gluten free? thanks.

  67. Bri- you can use a combination of superfine brown rice flour, quinoa and tapioca starch. It should work great.

  68. Kate says:

    Tried this recipe yesterday with great success! They are absolutely delicious and are already almost gone (despite the fact that the recipe made 4 dozen cookies). I have had a little trouble with madeleines in the past so thanks for a great recipe! I brushed mine in a little melted butter and coated them in ground pistachios and they were amazing.

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