What a great and delicious alternative to the gingerbread house and Christmas cookies these gingerbread madeleines make. With fragrant spices beautifully paired with brown sugar and dark rum, the Christmas spirit is guaranteed!
It is so true that we all associate gingerbread with everyone's time of year - Christmas.
Festive flavors bring comfort and deliciousness to a whole family during the holiday season.
Whether Gingerbread Cookies are arranged into a Christmas tree garland, French Gingerbread, or gorgeous Gingerbread Pavlova, they all make gingerbread fun.
And these adorable and delicious spiced madeleines are the best part of Christmas and a holiday twist.
They also are a perfect weekend baking project to enjoy during fall and a tasty reminder of winter days in spring and summer.
Moreover, after making a classic madeleine recipe, implementing gingerbread madeleine flavors is the next step in madeleine making and flavor experimenting.
History of gingerbread
The term gingerbread meaning "preserved ginger," first appeared in Medieval England and has been known since the 15th century.
Gingerbread describes any baked good made with ginger and sweetened with honey, sugar, treacle, or molasses.
The exception is French Gingerbread which does not contain ginger.
According to Rhonda Massingham Hart, author of the book Making Gingerbread Houses, the first gingerbread recipe came from Greece in 2400 BC.
Later, in the 10th century, the Chinese developed more gingerbread recipes. Finally, Europeans got their own version of gingerbread by the Middle Ages.
Gingerbread blend is a signature holiday flavor and a necessary ingredient while baking gingerbread goodies.
However, it can also be used to cook other sweet desserts (cakes, pies, cookies, etc.) and savory dishes.
Afterward, you can enjoy a mixture of gingerbread spices and black tea as a store-bought gingerbread black tea.
Classic store-bought McCormick gingerbread spice is a mix of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. If you want to make it yourself, follow the recipe for Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix.
German gingerbread recipes call for gingerbread spice or Lebkuchengewuerz in German, which consists of the same ingredients as the American gingerbread spice with added anise seed, coriander, cardamom, and fennel seed.
This traditional mixture is also called Neunerlei mix, which holds nine spices, although small amounts of ground black pepper and mace can also be added while baking.
Look for Lebkuchen Neunerlei at a German grocery or make German Gingerbread Spice yourself.
French gingerbread spice mix, Épices à pain d’épices Maison in French, is a five-spice blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, clove, coriander, and nutmeg with a little star anise.
Why you should try this recipe
It is a wonderful recipe to enjoy madeleines around the winter holidays.
Gingerbread madeleines are a festive twist on the traditional French madeleine cookies. They are easy and delicious alternatives to other gingerbread baked goods during Christmas time.
Flavored with warm spices, they represent one of the most delicious madeleine flavors.
These little bites make a great edible holiday gift.
Here is a quick overview of what ingredients you will need. Follow the full recipe below for exact amounts and instructions. I recommend making the recipe as written for the best results.
Also, read Madeleine Ingredients.
Eggs: take eggs out of the fridge 1 to 2 hours before you start to get them to room temperature.
Sugar: the recipe calls for golden brown sugar. You can replace it with dark brown sugar, light brown muscovado sugar, dark brown muscovado sugar, or French Vergeoise sugar.
Butter: high-quality products especially, the butter is essential in madeleine making. Melt unsalted butter and cool it down to 120 degrees F/50 degrees C before incorporating it into the main preparation.
Flour: use all-purpose flour to make madeleines.
Acacia honey: it is the most neutral honey that does not cover flavors, so it is used in baking. You can replace acacia honey with another type of honey if you desire.
Baking powder: it is used as a leavening agent.
Spice blend: use a mix of ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Experiment with spices by adding or replacing some with ground coriander (no more than ½ teaspoon), ground pepper (no more than ⅛ teaspoon), or use 1 teaspoon McCormick gingerbread spice instead of the recipe's spice mix.
Attention: do not use more than four spices simultaneously if you make a spice mix yourself.
Dark rum: it brings a beautiful flavor to already spiced madeleines. Omit this ingredient to make the recipe kid-friendly.
How to make gingerbread madeleines
To make the madeleine batter, place eggs (at room temperature), sugar, and honey in a large mixing bowl (photo 1) and beat with a hand whisk (photo 2).
Sift all-purpose flour with baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with a flour sifter in the second bowl.
Add dry ingredients to the main mixture, and combine with a whisk (photo 3).
Then add butter melted and cooled to 120 degrees F/50 degrees C and whisk again. Finally, add dark rum and mix (photo 4 ).
Cover the batter with plastic wrap in contact and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F/220 degrees C. Use softened butter to butter cavities of a madeleine mold: silicon or metal. Make sure to read about baking with silicone molds.
If you use the latter one, dust it with flour and tap excess flour. Using a pastry bag, fill the cavities up to two-thirds of the way (photo 5).
Bake cakes at 425 degrees F/220 degrees C for 3 minutes. Then switch off the oven for 7 to 8 minutes.
The madeleines will get that famous bump or hump on top. Then, turn the oven to 320 degrees F/160 degrees C for the other 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove madeleines from the oven and cool them in the mold for 5 minutes.
Take them out one by one, pushing each cavity of the silicone mold from the bottom.
If you use a metal madeleine tray, turn it over and hit it hard: madeleines will come by themselves.
Place cakes on the side, still in the mold (not on a wire rack), so that they cool down (photo 6).
Can you cheat on gingerbread spice? Actually, yes, you can. You can try to use apple pie spice, a mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves.
You can also use pumpkin pie spice, a mix of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, mace, and cloves.
Interestingly, even five-spice Chinese powder, a blend of ground cinnamon, star anise, fennel seed, Sichuan peppercorns, and cloves, will work instead of gingerbread spice.
You can also cheat with a store-bought Schwartz ground mixed spice, baking mixed spice, or cake spice.
Store gingerbread madeleines in a fully airtight container. A BPA-free and microwave-safe Tupperware plastic box or a glass jar will work as well.
Place a paper towel in the bottom of the box to help absorb the excess fat. With that, keep your madeleines at room temperature for up to 4 days.
To freeze, place madeleines in a single layer in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To defrost, bring cakes to room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
- Read this guide on how to make perfect French madeleines. You will learn all the tips and tricks in madeleine making, especially how to obtain a beautiful hump on top of madeleines.
- Cool and better chill the madeleine pan between baking batches of madeleines. If you use a metal mold, butter and flour it for each batch.
Frequently asked questions
The correct French pronunciation of madeleine is [mad.lɛn]. It is pronounced as /ˈmædleɪn/ or /ˌmædlˈeɪn/ in English.
Traditional French madeleines taste like light sponge cakes scented with lemon flavor due to lemon zest.
Proustian madeleine (madeleine de Proust in French) is anything that brings a person back to his childhood memories, like the smell of madeleines did with Marcel Proust. This expression is inspired by a passage from the book u0022In Search of Lost Timeu0022 written by Marcel
Moist madeleines are pure butter madeleines or madeleine pur beurre in French. Using real, high-quality butter is essential in madeleine making. Butter provides a rich, buttery texture that turns madeleines into the perfect u0022treat petiteu0022 (a little treat in English).
Madeleine batter has to be refrigerated to achieve bump or hump formation. However, baked French madeleines do not need to be refrigerated: they should be stored for up to 2 days in an air-tight container at room temperature.
A bump or hump on top of madeleines is the signature of madeleines' authenticity. Thermal shock is responsible for the bump or hump formation: make sure to chill the batter for a few hours, better overnight, chill a madeleine mold and reheat the oven well. Also, make sure to use fresh baking powder and don't open the oven door while baking madeleines.
French madeleines are best served on the day of baking. If you freeze them, thaw them at room temperature and only then reheat them in the microwave or the oven at 350 degrees F/175 degrees C for a few minutes before serving.
For the best taste, serve madeleines warm, right from the oven, or within one hour after baking. Then, enjoy them with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
Love small tea cakes? Try these next!
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What a great and delicious alternative to gingerbread house these gingerbread madeleines make! With fragrant spices beautifully paired with brown sugar and dark rum, the Christmas spirit is guaranteed!
- Total Time: 1 hour (plus chilling time)
- Yield: 36 1x
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
- 250 g eggs, room temperature (see note #1)
- 1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons (250 g) brown sugar
- 8.8 oz. (250 g) butter, melted
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (12 g) acacia honey
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon dark rum
* If needed, please refer to Baking Conversion Charts.
** Want to make perfect madeleines? Grab this FREE FAQ Guide!
- To make the madeleine batter, place eggs (at room temperature), sugar, honey in a large bowl and beat with a hand whisk. Sift all-purpose flour with baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with a flour sifter, add to the main mixture, and combine with a whisk. Add butter melted and cooled to 120 degrees F/50 degrees C and whisk again. Add dark rum and mix.
- Cover the batter with plastic film in contact and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F/220 degrees C. Butter cavities of a madeleine mold: silicon or metal one. If you use the latter one, dust it with flour and tap any excess. Using a pastry bag, fill the cavities up to three fourth.
- Bake cakes at 425 degrees F/220 degrees C for 3 minutes. Then switch off the oven for 7 to 8 minutes. The madeleines will get that famous bump or hump on top. Next, turn the oven to 320 degrees F/160 degrees C for the other 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove madeleines from the oven and cool them in the mold for about 5 minutes. Then, take them out one by one, pushing each silicone mold cavity from the bottom.
- If you use a metal madeleine mold/pan, turn the mold over and hit it hard: madeleines will come by themselves. Place cakes on the side, still in the mold, so that they cool down.
- 250 whole eggs approximately equal to 5 whole large chicken eggs (eggshell removed).
- Read this guide on how to make perfect French madeleines. You will learn all the tips and tricks in madeleine making, especially why madeleines have a bump or hump and how to get it.
- Store madeleines in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Freeze baked madeleines for up to 6 months and thaw them at room temperature for one to two hours.
- Serving Size: 1 madeleine
- Calories: 113
- Sugar: 7.3 g
- Sodium: 50 mg
- Fat: 6.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.7 g
- Fiber: 0.2 g
- Protein: 1.7 g
- Cholesterol: 41 mg
Keywords: gingerbread madeleines
The nutritional information has been calculated using an online recipe nutrition calculator such as Verywellfit.com and is intended for informational purposes only. These figures should be used as a general guideline and not be construed as a guarantee.
The recipe was originally published on December 11, 2020. It has been revised to include improved content and photos. All posted pictures are mine.
Lovely spices and flavor, and I appreciate the substitution ideas, as well. The cakes came out perfect, and the kitchen smelled heavenly!
Thank you for your feedback, Cyndy. I am happy to hear that. Happy holidays!
I love gingerbread desserts, and I love madeleines, so this was the perfect combination I never knew I needed. Thanks so much; I will definitely be making another batch on Christmas morning.
It sounds great, Clara! Please, enjoy the recipe, and happy holidays!
Marie-Charlotte Chatelain says
As a Frenchie, I have a soft spot for madeleines, and I LOVE your gingerbread version! I Will have to try!
Thank you, Marie-Charlotte. I really appreciate your comment 🙂
Veena Azmanov says
Thanks for your recipe. The best option for my Christmas dinner table. Perfect flavors and spices too.
Yes, it sounds great, Veena. Please, enjoy the recipe. 🙂
I had never thought about making gingerbread madeleines before, but this was the perfect recipe to make with my kids to celebrate the holidays coming up!! They turned out delicious and were a fun way to change things up from the typical gingerbread cookies we make!
Anjali, I am happy to hear that you have got another alternative to gingerbread cookies this year. Thanks for your comment. 🙂