Maybe you’ve never heard of Marcel Proust and madeleines are not part of your childhood memories. Still, you should try them. Made in a pan that forms them into beautiful, shell-like delicacies, madeleines are really small sponge cakes. With batter similar to that for a gènoise cake, they bake up in minutes and are perfect for teatime or a coffee break, or as dessert with ice cream or fruit.
If you need reasons to love them, here are my top three: 1) madeleines are simple to make once you know a few tips about preparing them; 2) they’re incredibly elegant and memorably delicious - Marcel Proust’s explanation for how tasting one transported him back to his childhood makes perfect sense once you’ve tried them; and 3) you can vary madeleines from plain to fancy with just a few extra ingredients.