These gingerbread madeleines are a delicious festive twist on the traditional French cookie. Gently spiced and wonderfully light with a crisp outside, they're little bites of heaven.
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Ever since I made lemon madeleines a few months ago I have had it at the back of my mind that I needed to think about some other variations. I wanted to get more use out of my lovely madeleine pan for a start (affiliate link, but I genuinely love it), but they are so tasty too. And with cookies being everywhere this time of year, it seemed only right to add a festive twist.
Whether as gingerbread or not, I'm a big fan of the warm spices that are considered "gingerbread" spice. They are the perfect way to brighten many a dish.
What are the spices in gingerbread?
It can vary, but typically gingerbread spice consists of:
- 2 parts ginger
- 2 parts cinnamon
- 1 part allspice
- 1 part nutmeg
- and 1 part cloves.
German gingerbread spice (such as in lebkuchen) is a little different, typically including cardamon, coriander, star anise and maybe mace as well as all or most of the above. Many gingerbread recipes use molasses as part of the sweetener to add that depth of flavor and color.
In these gingerbread madeleines, I used the classic spices apart from cloves. My reasoning was partly that I find they taste pretty similar to allspice and so you can get away with just one or the other.
And to be honest, I only had whole cloves and knew I'd never grind them fine enough. But feel free to add some if you like.
I added the spices in with the flour then otherwise these are made in much the same way as my other madeleines. While my pan doesn't really stick, I added a little butter to help them slide out easily and also crisp up a little on the outside.
Tips for perfect madeleines
These madeleines formed a lovely 'hump', just as you are looking for and had a great even airy texture. I definitely took on board the tips I put together when I made my other madeleines. As a reminder they are:
- Beat the egg and sugars a good few minutes. It might seem combined, but that's not what you are going for - you want it glossy and almost thick as it gets some air in it.
- Gently mix in the flour then the melted butter. You want to keep that bit of air in the mixture.
- Chill the mixture around an hour. This helps it firm up which in turn helps the rise. For these, I actually chilled the mixture overnight to let the flavors mingle, then took it out about 15 minutes or so before baking to be a more moderate temperature.
- Chill the pan a few minutes for the same reason if you can (but I actually forgot here and it was fine).
- Lightly butter the pan (or don't). If your mould/pan is nonstick, like mine, in all honesty I didn't find it made much of a difference in terms of sticking. However for these, I do think the butter helped give a nice crisp. If you mould is not nonstick, definitely butter it.
- Don't spread the mixture in the mould. Just scoop some into the middle of the mould indents - it will spread as it cooks. If you spread it before, it's more likely to burn around the edges.
- Keep an eye as they bake. This is true for all baking - ovens vary, as do pans, which can all impact the timing.
These gingerbread madeleines are lightly spiced and perfectly delicious little bites. Some call them cookies, some would say they are more like mini cakes, but I think everyone would agree these are all delicious (I know all in my family would).
If you're looking for more madeleine flavors, try these:
Plus get lots of other snack recipes, both sweet and savory, in the archives.
Tools to make these:
I used this Nonstick Madeleine Pan (affiliate link) which worked really well for this and my other madeleine recipes.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon sugar (fine, if possible)
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 egg
- ½ cup all purpose flour plain flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon butter approx, to brush pan
- Melt the butter either in a small pan or in the microwave in a small dish. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest.
- Whisk together the sugars, molasses and egg until the mixture becomes paler and a little thick, a good few minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt so they are well blended. Add them a little at a time to the egg mixture (with a spatula is good, or else continue to use mixer). You want it well combined but not over-mixed. Fold in the melted butter and once again, mix but don't over-mix.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about an hour. Alternatively, leave overnight to let the flavors mix more then take out a few minutes before you will use.
- Once you are almost ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Brush the madeleine pan lightly with melted butter.
- Take the mixture from the fridge and gently loosen it from the bowl but don't mix out any of the air. Spoon tablespoonfuls of the mixture into each mould of the pan, without spreading it out at all.
- Put the pan in the oven once it has reached temperature and bake for approximately 12 minutes until they are lightly browned and with a little hump in the middle.
- Allow to cool a minute before turning them (invert) onto a cooling rack, with the pattern side now up. Once they are largely cool, gently dust with powdered sugar (optional) and enjoy. Best enjoyed when right out the oven, gently warm. They will keep a day or two but will lose their crisp edge.
Like gingerbread? Try these other ideas:
- Russian Pryanik Gingerbread by Pandemonium Noshery
- Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake by Sid's Sea Palm Cooking
- Gingerbread Men by Cook with Renu
- Orange Cranberry Gingerbread by Food Lust People Love
- Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies by Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Louisiana Syrup Cake (Cajun Gingerbread) by Palatable Pastime
- Poussins aux Pain d'Epices by Culinary Adventures with Camilla