For such a small, delicate cookies, madeleines sure have a lot of controversy around them.
The question for many cooks is: what recipe were Proust’s madeleines from? I’d honestly never heard of the French author’s passage from In Search of Lost Time, which is apparently how the shell-shaped French cookies got their notoriety. But read anything about madeleines, and it’ll likely mention Marcel Proust and how the cookie’s crumbs in a cup of tea bring up involuntary memories.
At first, I didn’t think any of that related to why I was looking forward to making the French cookies with my mom for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie project. No, madeleines were always one of the cookies that my grandfather made for our annual Christmas cookie exchange. Standing apart by their shell shape, the cookies were often half-dipped in a chocolate glaze. We’ve always wanted to get the special pan to make madeleines, but never had a real reason to, until it was time for this Baking with Julia recipe.