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Oui, oui: savory cheddar madeleines.

February 27, 2015

Savory madeleines with cheddar, dill & onion!

Have you ever had a genius idea and had to act on it immediately? Okay so maybe my idea for these madeleines wasn’t really genius, but either way I had to act on it immediately. I had just gotten inspired by flipping through the book Madeleines: Elegant Tea Cakes to Bake & Share by Barbara Feldman Morse.

In the book, there are recipes for both sweet & savory madeleines, as well as ones with fruit & nut and other unexpected varieties. I was sent the book to review back in October, but then I got sick, so I kind of put it back on the shelf (literally). But I saw it on my shelf and decided to get crackin’ on something delicious.

Savory cheddar, dill and onion madeleine recipe!

This recipe is not in the book; instead its an adaptation of one of the recipes plus ideas from my head and from another recipe in the book. I wanted to make a savory madeleine, one that you could eat with soup or as a snack. And one of my favorite types of biscuit or scone is a cheddar/dill kind. Jay always has fresh dill around- he not only makes homemade chicken soup from scratch, but also likes to eat it on sandwiches (seriously). And the onion? Well I just thought that it’d be a great addition.

And as far as the book goes… it’s great. While I didn’t use an exact recipe from it this time, I’m sure I will be in the future. A lot.

Savory cheddar, dill and onion madeleines.

But Madeleines are nothing like scones. They’re very light and puffy and soft, and not heavy at all. So instead of being heavy and flaky like a biscuit or a scone, it’s actually super soft and spongy, and doesn’t fill you up as fast.

What exactly is a madeleine?

The madeleine (French pronunciation: ​[mad.lɛn]English /ˈmædln/ or /ˌmædlˈn/[1]) or petite madeleine ([pə.tit mad.lɛn]) is a traditional small cake from Commercy and Liverdun, two communes of the Lorraineregion in northeastern France.

Madeleines are very small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape acquired from being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions. Aside from the traditional moulded pan, commonly found in stores specialising in kitchen equipment and even hardware stores, no special tools are required to make madeleines.

A génoise cake batter is used. The flavour is similar to, but somewhat lighter than, sponge cake. Traditional recipes include very finely ground nuts, usually almonds. A variation uses lemon zest, for a pronounced lemony taste.

English madeleines also use a génoise sponge but they are baked in dariole moulds. After cooking, the cakes are coated in jam and desiccated coconut, and are usually topped with a glacé cherry.

Some sources, including the New Oxford American Dictionary, say madeleines may have been named for a 19th-century pastry cook, Madeleine Paulmier, but other sources have it that Madeleine Paulmier was a cook in the 18th century for Stanisław Leszczyński, whose son-in-law, Louis XV of France, named them for her.[2] The Larousse Gastronomique offers two conflicting versions of the history of the madeleine.[3]


The appeal of them is how easy they are to make, how cute they are, and how light and airy they are. And while they’re delicate, they hold up to having cheese and onion added to them very well.

Savory cheddar, dill and onion madeleines.

Savory cheddar, dill and onion madeleines.

You don’t need anything in particular to make madeleines- just a madeleine pan. This one is from Sur La Table. You can get them anywhere they sell cookie sheets and cooking/baking materials. They have regular sized ones and mini-ones.

If you use a small or mini-size one, you’ll get A LOT more of these. Obviously.

Savory cheddar, dill and onion madeleines.

Technically… madeleines are tea cakes, not cookies. However, for the purposes of the blog I refer to them as cookies. God forbid a French chef come here and scold me for using the wrong terminology, like I’ve had happen before. Actually, no, I think he told me that the eclairs I made for a Daring Baker’s Challenge weren’t really eclairs, they were fake, and that Americans don’t know anything about baking.


Yeah, so anyway. Madeleines.

Cheddar, dill and onion madeleines.

CHEDDAR, DILL AND ONION MADELEINES (adapted from two recipes in Madeleines: Elegant Tea Cakes to Bake & Share by Barbara Feldman Morse)


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling (optional) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 9 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled, plus 2 tablespoons for greasing the pan
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 cup grated cheddar (I used a mix of sharp white and regular sharp)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow or white onion


  1. Move a rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 375° degrees. Grease the shells of a madeleine pan with melted butter. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, onion and dill. Add the cooled melted butter, and whisk until combined.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, until they’re all combined in the mixture. Then add the cheddar. It might be hard to whisk at this point, so a wooden spoon or spatula is okay.
  4. Spoon the batter into the greased madeleine shells and spread it out so that its even. Sprinkle more cheddar and/or salt on top if desired.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and if you used cheese, its bubbly and darkening. Remove from oven and move to a wire rack. A teaspoon is helpful for removing the hot madeleines.
  6. Enjoy!

Savory cheddar, dill and onion madeleines.

Beware: you will can eat like, 6 of these at a time without noticing. They’re dangerous!

Suggestions for use: EAT THEM!
Soundtrack: Eartha Kitt – “Je Cherche Un Homme”
Sources & credits: Madeleine pan, Sur La Table; glass bowls; Williams-Sonoma, tea towel; Williams-Sonoma, cutting board; Ikea.
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