I got the bug to bake madeleines last year, after a birthday dinner at Moro's Table in Auburn. One of the desserts offered that evening was a plate of just-baked mini madeleines, dusted with powdered sugar. Our order would take about 15 minutes, our waiter said. No problem, we lingered over wine and ordered coffee. The madeleines were served fresh out of the oven.
Madeleines look fancy, but they're really easy to make. They call for ingredients that most people have in their kitchens right now -- flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking powder, vanilla extract, confectioners sugar -- and lemon zest. You might not have a lemon on hand (which is why it's a good idea to always keep some lemon zest in the freezer). The recipe is made in stages, which makes it less formidable. Refrigeration of the dough, for at least three hours or up to two days, is essential to giving the madeleines their signature, slightly domed shape, Greenspan says.