Saffron, Orange, & Honey Madeleines

Madeleines have been a newfound obsession of mine, since making these Eggnog Madeleines a couple of weeks back. They're so beautiful, and the perfect combination of a cake and a cookie. But if you read my post for the Eggnog renditions, then you already know how much I love these cakey delights.


So let's just get right to it, then! This recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh's cookbook, Sweet. This has also been a new favorite of mine – I've been devouring the pages of the book and whipping up all of their recipes in my kitchen, from the Banana Chocolate Cookies to the World's Best Chocolate Cake.

This recipe evokes amazingly spring flavors, even though it's the dead of winter and a balmy 17º outside. And they pair wonderfully with flavored teas, plain teas, a cup of black coffee, or a cup of sugar with coffee and cream.


When I made these, I absolutely flipped. Within minutes of me putting the tray in the oven, my madeleines smelled burnt and they looked way too dark. I mean, compare these to the Eggnog ones, they're significantly darker! My second batch I tried at a lower oven temperature and for a longer period of time. They went directly from my oven to my trashcan, unfortunately. The high oven temp (400º!) and short baking time (~9 minutes!) lend them a beautiful crust and a quick rise, giving them their signature bump on their undersides. Trust the recipe.

I added vanilla bean paste instead of the seeds from vanilla bean pods, and I added a splash of almond extract. I think it added another dimension of flavors. If you don't have saffron, feel free to skip out on that. It just adds a bright, almost floral flavor, but one that is subtle and can be swapped for added vanilla extract, or some other flavorful extract or additive of your choice. I think ginger would be a wonderful flavor to pair with the orange and honey.

Check out the recipe below, or find the exact recipe in the cookbook, Sweet. Or, ya know, if you don't have the book, scoop it from Bon Appetit.

Saffron, Orange, & Honey Madeleines


For the madeleines...

  • 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I used Meyer lemon honey from Bushwick Kitchen)
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour

For the glaze...

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 drops sweet orange oil
  • 3 tablespoons pistachios, crushed

Combine the butter, honey, and saffron threads in a small bowl and melt, either in a microwave or over the stove. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, paste, extract, and orange zest with a hand mixer until smooth. Add in the powder, salt, and flour, and mix just until combined. Slowly stream in the semi-cooled butter mixture, and continue to mix, just until no flour streaks remain. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Meanwhile, prep the glaze. Combine all three ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside until the madeleines are in the oven. (At that point, you'll pop the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, just so the honey mixture is suuuuper runny.) Crush the pistachios either by hand (for larger pieces) or in a food processor (for a more powdery crunch.)

Towards the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Melt an extra tablespoon of butter and paint the madeleine pan in a thin coating. Pop the pan into the freezer for about five minutes. Spoon the batter into the frozen molds, filling about 3/4 of the way full in the deepest part of the molds. Place the remaining batter back in the fridge. Bake the madeleines for 9 minutes. Note: they will look SUPER dark, and they may smell like they reached the point of no return. This is okay!!!! Allow the madeleines to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then, gently using a butter knife, detach the pastries from the edges of the pan and gently wedge the knife underneath them to pop them out. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Wash the pan completely, butter, freeze, and refill!

Once the madeleines are cool, dip the scalloped side in the honey mixture, dunk the end in honey, and then dip into the pistachio powder. Let them dry completely before digging in!

My name is Alexandra Jade, but you can call me Alex, or Trin.  I am a Food Studies major at New York University, and a freelance photographer, journalist, and social media pro on the side.  I run the instagram account @twobrunchgirls.