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French Chocolate Madeleines

4.64 from 41 votes

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A recipe for simple, classic chocolate madeleines — little French cakes that are combination cake and cookie, moist on the inside with a thin, crisp crust on the outside.

French Chocolate Madeleines

So, are you in the mood for chocolate?

Yes! Me too. Next comes the question of whether you want to indulge in cake or cookies.

What about the intense, giant chocolate cookies called Chocolate Whoppers?

Or a soft and fudgy flourless chocolate souffle cake?

How about a little of both?

These rich, moist chocolate madeleines are a happy combination of the two — they’re buttery, two-bite treats shaped like little shells.

When you take a bite, you’ll meet a thin crust, slightly crisp on the outside, before sinking your teeth into the moist, melting chocolate crumb on the inside.

Chocolate madeleine cakes shown in a tan nonstick madeleine baking pan on a light blue background.

What are French madeleines?

Madeleines are small, individual cakes probably more famous in literature than at your local bakery.

They’re made in a rainbow of flavors besides chocolate, like lemon, pistachio and vanilla.

Marcel Proust loved them so much he put them in his famous novel and then, apparently, never got over them.

He describes them as “seashell cakes so strictly pleated outside, and so sensual inside.”  Damn.

Chocolate madeleine cakes shown in a tan nonstick madeleine baking pan on a light blue background.
Chocolate madeleine cakes shown in a tan nonstick madeleine baking pan on a light blue background.

can you make Madeleines without a mold?

While the recipe for making madeleines is pretty basic, there’s one thing to know.

You need a madeleine pan, molded with shallow shell-shape cups, to make these special cakes.

I hate to be that person who makes you go out and buy a special pan just to bake little chocolate cakes…but you kind of have to.

Really, in order to achieve the characteristic domed, scalloped shape of authentic French madeleines, you’ll need a madeleine pan like this one.

The fluted tins are not very expensive and trust me, once you make a batch (and then another) you’ll be glad you did!

I have a few non-stick ones that work like a charm.

Chocolate madeleine cakes shown in a tan nonstick madeleine baking pan on a light blue background.

Tips and Tricks for Making Chocolate Madeleines

  • Chilling the batter for an hour or so before baking helps form their shape.
  • The top side of the madeleines will puff into a “bump” and split a little while they bake — that’s perfect.
  • Butter the tin thoroughly to make sure the madeleines release easily.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa and powdered sugar in a mesh strainer to avoid lumps in the batter.
  • For extra flavor, dip the baked madeleines into melted chocolate or ganache.

Madeleines are delicious at room temperature, and especially good slightly warm from the oven. They keep well for a few days in a covered container.

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French Chocolate Madeleines

10 Homemade Chocolate Desserts, Including Chocolate Madeleines

Karen Tedesco
No list of the best chocolate desserts would be complete without classic French madeleines. They are a delectable treat made with dark chocolate. They taste like a combination of a rich cookie and a cake in one! The recipe is simple, but you do need a madeleine pan like this one to make them.
Print Pin
4.64 from 41 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Additional Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 32 mins
Course Desserts
Cuisine chocolate
Servings 24 madeleines

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) melted butter
  • 10 tablespoons (150 g) butter
  • 6 ounces (175 g) dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups (180 g) powdered confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup (70 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 (185 ml) large egg whites (¾ cup)

Instructions 

  • Brush a madeleine baking pan with the melted butter.
  • Put remaining butter and the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (be sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl). Heat until chocolate and butter are almost melted, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir together until smooth.
  • Sift powdered sugar, flour, cocoa and salt into a bowl using a mesh strainer.
  • Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer or by hand until very frothy, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Add chocolate mixture and mix with a spatula until well blended.
  • Portion batter into the pan, filllig each cup with about 1 heaping tablespoon of batter. Chill in the refrigerator one hour. If your pan makes only 12 at a time, chill remaining batter in a bowl and bake in batches.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Bake about 12 minutes, or until madeleines are springy to touch. Cool in pan 1 minute, then unmold madeleines onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • Recipe will yield 18-14 madeleines, depending on your pan size.
  • The madeleines will have the ideal crisp outside/soft inside texture just after baking. They will keep for a few days at room temperature in a covered container, but they will soften and become more cake-like — still delicious!
For best results: As with all recipes, you’ll be most efficient if you assemble the tools, equipment and ingredients needed for the recipe before you begin. This is your roadmap to successful baking, also called the mise en place.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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16 Comments

  1. Amy Kirschner says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe. It tasted good – super chocolately – but the shape was awful. They were the most ugly Madeleines I have ever made.

    1. Hmmm – I wonder if it’s because your Madeleine pan is shaped a different way? Also, if you overfill the cups the shape of the madeleine will be more puffy and not as defined.

  2. These came out wonderfully though my family said they were ‘too chocolate-y’, like how is that possible?! LOL

  3. There’s an error somewhere; I just made these and ended up with cracked, dry, chocolate balls that didn’t spread in the madeline pan at all. The batter was like a thick fudge and not like other madelines I’ve made. I just noticed that powdered sugar is mentioned in the ingredients list but there’s no direction to add it anywhere? Gotta go pour one out for the wasted bittersweet chocolate lost to this recipe.

    1. Hi Emily – I’m so sorry to hear this recipe didn’t work for you. The powdered sugar should be added as noted in step 3, sifted with the flour and cocoa. If you didn’t add the sugar, that would explain the dry texture.

  4. These were absolutely delicious! My daughter had some homework to make some French food so we decided on madeleines and your recipe didn’t disappoint. We made them gluten free but they still worked perfectly. Thank you!

  5. Jessica Andersen says:

    So I made them and they were all split And did not dome that well. I think I over mixed the batter? They seemed more the consistency of a flourless chocolate cake and the mixture seemed very fudge like.

  6. Could I use 6 full eggs instead of just egg whites?

  7. Madeleines were my favorite thing when I went to France! Must try your chocolate version 🙂

    1. Thank you Laura. Chocolate is one of a few things I seem to be craving 🙂