College Cooking: Chocolate Madeleines

Summer is not the best season for baking. But sometimes you’re still craving a light-on-the-stomach baked good. Madeleines are an airy dessert similar in taste to a miniature cake.

In 1755, madeleines were said to have been named after the French king’s father-in-law’s cook, Madeleine Paulmier. Other versions of this story acclaim Jean Avice to have invented madeleines during the 19th century. All we know to be true is that madeleines were invented between the 18th and 20th centuries. The name Madeleine is French for Magdalene, which is mentioned in the Bible, as Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus. Although most of what we know about madeleines derived from folklore, madeleines arrived somehow and became a staple French delicacy, often eaten with tea or coffee.

Over time, bakers experimented with a variety of flavors as the popularity of madeleines grew. Chocolate madeleines are always a favorite as they use cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips to maintain the light airiness that madeleines are famous for.

Chocolate Madeleine Ingredients (makes 12 madeleines):

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Coat a madeleine pan (12 molds) with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter using a pastry brush. Make sure to cover every ridge so that the batter doesn’t stick.
  3. Dust a small handful of flour over the madeleine pan. Shake out the pan over the sink to knock out the excess flour.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Lightly mix the flour mixture.
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute. 
  6. Increase the speed to high and beat for 10 more minutes until the mixture has quadrupled in size.
  7. Beat in the vanilla and turn off the mixer. 
  8. Pour the flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. 
  9. Make sure the mixture is thoroughly mixed with no dry clumps remaining but be very careful not to overmix.
  10. Pour the batter into the madeleine molds. Each mold should be ¾ of the way full. 
  11. Carefully shake the madeleine pan back and forth to set the batter and wet your finger with water to smooth down the top. 
  12. Bake the madeleine’s for 12 to 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The tops of the madeleines should spring back when pressed lightly.
  13. Let the madeleines cool before removing them from the pan. The madeleines should easily slip out of the pan, but if they don’t, slip a butter knife under the madeleines to pull them from the pan.
  14. Layout the madeleines on a tray and sift the powdered sugar using a fine-mesh sieve over the madeleines.
  15. Madeleines are best eaten the same day they are baked, so eat and enjoy!