Madeleines are some of my favorite treats to bake. A plain madeleine recipe is basically a blank canvas for other flavors and ingredients to shine. This time of year, I can’t resist playing with warm spices, like those in chai. These Browned Butter Chai Madeleines are the latest baking experiment to come out of my kitchen—and y’all, I kind of love them.
I’ve written about madeleines on the blog before, but as a refresher, madeleines are a light, French cake-like cookie. They’re soft and buttery, and delicious with coffee or tea in the mornings. When baked correctly, madeleines are slightly browned and crispy on the edges, and spongy in the middle. Previously I shared a recipe for Orange Almond Madeleines, but today we’re taking a spicier route. And no, not the peppery kind of spice.
Chai spices have made their way into my baking in the last couple of years. They add a lovely warmth to recipes, and depending on the proportions of each spice, can really amplify certain flavors. In this recipe, I love how they balance the nuttiness from the browned butter.
For my Browned Butter Chai Madeleines, I made my own chai spice blend:
Additionally, you can add fennel, star anise, coriander, and even a pinch black pepper for a stronger chai spice flavor. This article from The Kitchn breaks down chai spices really well!
Browned butter is nothing new around here. I brown butter for lots of recipes for the nutty, caramel-like flavors it brings to final product. It’s especially delicious for chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Madeleines call for melted butter already, so why not level up with some browned butter?
Madeleines aren’t exactly the easiest thing to bake. In fact, they’re rather finicky. To get the iconic “Madeleine Hump,” you need to chill the batter. Some recipes say you can chill for as little as an hour. I’ve had the best results when chilling the batter overnight. That does require a little more planning, but it’s worth it. Fortunately the batter itself only takes about 10-15 minutes to make, so you can make it right before bed, chill it overnight, and bake your madeleines first thing in the morning.
You’ll need a special Madeleine pan for these. Traditionally madeleines are shell shaped. My pan is a Wilton brand, and I think I found it at Bed Bath & Beyond a few years ago. Amazon has plenty of options, of course, as does Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma.
Here’s how to make Browned Butter Chai Madeleines.
Start the batter today to have freshly baked madeleines with your morning coffee tomorrow.
Browned Butter Chai Madeleines
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp chai spice blend
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp butter, melted and browned
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and let it brown until caramel-like in color and smells nutty. Remove from heat and let cool.
Add eggs and sugar to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously until they're pale yellow in color. Add vanilla and whisk to combine.
Add flour, chai spice blend, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine.
Carefully pour the browned butter into the batter, and fold with a spatula until combined.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate the batter for at least an hour. Overnight is best, but the batter needs an hour of refrigeration at the minimum.
When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare your Madeleine pan: spray each well with baking spray, or brush with melted butter.
Add a modest spoonful of batter into each well. No need to spread it; gravity and heat will take care of it!
Bake for 8 minutes exactly.
Let the madeleines cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then carefully remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Dust with powdered sugar if desired, and serve.
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