rose water and grenadine madeleines

Today, March 20th, is Macaron Day. In bakeries around the world, macaron devourers are ringing in this joyous occasion. Happy Macaron Day, festive celebrators.

But on this special day, I give you no macarons – if you know me, you know that is so not my style. I’m contrary like that.

Rather, I’ll let you in on a special treat that I much prefer: these lovely spring-welcoming Rose Water and Grenadine Madeleines.

When I last discussed madeleines, leaves were falling from the trees, and pumpkin was in the air. On the lips of foodie folk, that is.

I’ve been working on my technique and recipe proportions since then, and I believe I’ve created a real winner. While these madeleines may look similar to those from last October, this batter produced much more consistent cakelets. All the madeleines had lusciously dangerous curves, and there were no large air pockets on the baked cake surface or underside. Perhaps more importantly, they baked equally well in my two different madeleine tins.

I have a tin tin (narf) that I have used successfully for years, and a newer nonstick tin that I bought last year. So far, I’ve been quite disappointed with the nonstick tin in comparison, but with this recipe, both tins produced nothing but aces.

I recently bought a bottle of rose water and decided to make that the star of these madeleines. I realize rose water is reminiscent of soap for some, which is understandable. But it is so light and refreshing in these madeleines that I encourage you to try them, even if the concept of soap cake makes you cringe. After all, it used to be the most popular essence to bake with, before vanilla was readily available.

Complementing the rose water are a few splashes of Rose’s grenadine. While grenadine is awfully syrupy-sweet on its own, it performed exactly as I intended it to here, tinting the cakes with an ethereal hint of fluffy pink color, while adding no flavor to the finished product. You can faintly make out the color in some of these photos; to me, it is the same delicate hue as red grapefruit.

As the weather reached summery temps over the weekend, we soaked up the sun outdoors whilst watching the mountains of snow begin to melt in the yard. These madeleines were the perfect spring cake for such an event, but would look just as nice in a more formal setting – on an Easter table, for instance.

Open windows, sunshine, turning the heat off, long afternoons outside. We started our first seeds, including broccoli, basil, various flowers, and chewin’ tobaccie. Hopefully these seeds have plenty of germination determination.

The biggest achievement of the past week was receiving my bound thesis in the mail. Now I can sit and bat my eyelashes at it for long hours, smelling its new book smell, and admiring its lush green cover. It’s all upwards from there.

Rose Water and Grenadine Madeleines

{Original recipe}

Makes 24 madeleines, plus a bit of extra batter to slurp

Note: Madeleine recipes like to tell you to blanch your almonds. Well, world, I’ve had enough of your blanching. I like the added color in my finished cakes anyway. But… blanch if you must.


1/2 c. unsalted butter + 1 tbsp for madeleine tins
1/2 c. + 3 tbsp almonds, finely ground
3/4 c. + 1 tbsp flour
1/2 c. + 3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp rose water
4-5 splashes grenadine


Melt 1 tbsp of butter and brush into madeleine tins. Cool one minute, then sprinkle flour into each mold. Tap in each direction to evenly coat, then tap out extra. Set aside.

Melt butter in small bowl, and cool. Add rose water and 2-3 splashes grenadine.

In a large bowl, whisk ground almonds, flour, sugar and baking powder.

In another large bowl, whisk eggs and salt for two to three minutes until well-frothed. Whisk in half of flour mixture, then butter mixture. Switch to a spatula, and fold in the remaining flour mixture. At this point, mix in additional splashes of grenadine if mixture is not yet a light rosy hue.

Transfer batter into a pastry bag, making sure that the tip is large enough to allow almond chunks to pass through. Pipe batter into tins, making sure not to overfill: 2/3 to 3/4 full should be plenty.

Chill tins in the fridge for two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake tins for 8 – 14 minutes, rotating once. My nonstick tin took 9 minutes to bake, and my tin tin took 13 minutes. My advice is to watch your madeleines bake carefully; it’s only a few minutes of your time, but these are important minutes. When the edges turn golden brown, and the center bumps appear cooked (the change is noticeable if you watch them bake), remove pan from the oven. Invert onto a cooling rack, or pry out with a spoon or knife, which I chose to do to make sure there were no cake tears / my tears.

Let cool. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. These are best eaten the day they are made, as they grow sticky with time. However, I’ve found that the rose water flavor mellows by the second day, which could be a good thing. Store well-wrapped.


33 thoughts on “rose water and grenadine madeleines

  1. YEAH, bound thesis!!! That is super exciting. I completely bombed on macaron day…too much manuscript writing. Said manuscript should be going off to the committee tomorrow, then I’ll be defending on April 11th! 9 am, if you can make it. Your madeleines sound perfect to celebrate the first day of spring. And they are quite shapely. Nice humps!

    1. Woohoooo! I’ve got your defense date marked on the calendar. We’ll be down at NESAF and in Portland through that Sunday, but it shouldn’t be a problem to reverse directions and come see you defend on the 11th – I’ll do my best to be there:)

      My hump my hump my hump!

  2. MMM, new book smell.
    I love rose water. I used to work in a vegetarian restaurant that was owned by Persian fellows. They taught me how to make them tea to their approval. It was always served with a splash of rose water and sugar rocks that they would dip in the tea and eat. I wasn’t allowed to drink tea with them, but I did learn to love rose water. I love a splash in my lemonade.
    I have some orange blossom water that I want to play with. I was thinking more along the lines of gin than delicate madeleines, does that say something?

    1. I like rose water too. I know next to nothing about Persian culture or cuisine, but I’m going to try adding a splash to my tea this morning. It’s a very floral tea, so I hope it adds to the flavor nicely.

      That says that you are thirsty! Or that it is hot out! Or that you’re creative and want to explore drinky drinks! Or or or…. I dunno, rest assured, you’re still as much a lady as someone making delicate madeleines!

  3. Very pretty. I love rose flavored things, not a huge fan of grenadine but somehow those flavors do sound good together.

    1. The grenadine wasn’t noticeable in the final product, or even in the batter. It just added color, and I didn’t feel like using plain phony food coloring:)

      I was surprised the grenadine wasn’t discernible, actually.

  4. Yay thesis! Yay seeds with germination determination, across the nation!

    I love madeleines, they seem so underexposed as far as small cakelets go these days, when you’ve got your cupcakes and whoopie pies and macarons and so on taking over. I’m a big fan of rosewater – it’s orange blossom water I can’t stand, now that is far too sickly sweet for me. But rosewater I think is gorgeous, its fragrance seems to have a hint of lemonade in it.

    1. It’s a new sensation, join the celebration!

      Laura, I don’t know what I’ll do if madeleines become the next cupcake or macaron or whoopie pie or cake pop or push pop or [insert unnecessary trend here]. Maybe I’ll become super important in the madeleine community – “this girl knew about them, baked them, and actually LIKED them, SIX YEARS AGO.” Hah:)

      I’ve never had orange blossom water, but something tells me I could be into it. Sickly sweet is never good though, ick, reminds me of cough syrup.

      I’m seeing a lemonade connection in the comments here. I’ll keep that in mind for future recipes!

    1. Thank you:) I know you mean madeleines, because my macs are faaaaaar from perfect. The one batch of near-perfect macarons that I made I didn’t blog about:D

  5. Wow, congratulations on your thesis! That’s very exciting. Please, please, please tell me you’ll be sharing photos of the cosmic purple carrots. If only I’d known about the macaron day, it would have given me the perfect excuse to go out and buy myself one …
    On and the madeleines look delicious! the beautiful golden brown on the bottom makes me want to rush home and bake!

    1. For sure, I’ll show some pictures of Cosmic Purples, if they grow up all nice like! It’ll be awhile though:)

      I doubt there are any macs available for sale within a 150-mile radius of me. I had to make my own, but it’s never too late for you if you like them;)

      I think of madeleines as an easy way to trump up cake – they look beautiful and people ooh and ahh over them, but they’re really just a fun and easy treat to make! Enjoy baking, if you do:)

  6. Aww man, I was early for macaron day and finally had one last Friday, AND it was rose-flavored! These look and sound lovely. Congrats on the book! A bit of a badass moment, that.

    1. Haha, quel coincidence! I bet the macaron was delightful.

      Definitely a badass moment, there were guitars shredding in the background. :D

  7. Congratulations on your book…you should be very proud of yourself. I know that we are just bustin’ buttons out here! YOU ARE WONDERFUL. Except, seeing the word grenadine in the title, I was just waiting and waiting for you to have a photograph of one of those suckers cracked open so that we could see the lovely delicately tinted pinkishness of the madeleine….scroll down, scroll down; oh, so disappointed! It was lovely to read your description, however.
    (note to self: I must get me one of those pans, soon.)

    1. I tried my best to capture the rosy glow, but the sunlight was sort of strong. They didn’t look any rosier on the inside that on the exterior, really. In the darkness of the kitchen, they looked so delicate pink, as they did in the sunny outdoors, but the photos don’t show it, I guess. I thought they looked a bit pink in some of them:/

      I don’t have a light box, I’ve been meaning to purchase one.

    2. By the way, you will make me feel wonderful if you don’t write another sentence that goes “you are wonderful. except….” !

      1. Ha, ha–you know that I’m just kidding–your efforts are so amazing, and I was blown away with the creative idea of the ingredients in those cookies, that I just had to loveingly needle you a bit;-)

  8. Yay!! I would much prefer these to macarons, particularly as I have recently crossed over from the doom-soap to yay-roseyness line. Also, hurrah for thesis! I got my Honours thesis bound in deep green too, because mine was on ethical consumption. Although the Honours thesis was only for one year’s work and 28,000 words, so I’m sure yours deserve a more beauteous green and more cakey treats :)

    1. Glad to hear you have joined our well-scented ranks.

      I could tell you my thesis was a dangerous 2.5 years in the backwoods of rural Maine, surrounded by flannels and men in beards, and that there was moonshine flowing freely and lots of dangerous backstabbing. But that would all be a lie except the flannels and beards part.

  9. Color me clueless, but I had no idea your eloquent recipe for madeleines was in any way related to the (much more mundane) madeleines which my better half loves from Costco. Then again, I’m a total Oreo/chocolate chip cookie type o’ dood, so madeleines were totally over my head until now. Geez. I never knew they could get so complex. Great write up.

    1. Hehe. You know, I’ve never been to Costco, but I once knew a pet toad of that name.

      I love Oreos so much, but I don’t let myself buy them because I’m easily capable of eating 2/3rds of the bag in the first sitting. Because one must sit down to eat them – – not.

      Your ‘better half’ sounds like she’s got great taste:)

      1. A whuuh? A pet toad named Costco? Original!

        2/3rds the bag in a sitting, eh? I’m the same way, but with chips. Keep me away from anything Kettle. =)

        1. Poor Costco. He developed a mold and had to be released into the wild to die a slow death in peace.

          …or recover. We’ll never know.

          1. Hmm. Nature has its ways. Pet toads often outlive their owners. Perhaps one day you’ll hear a familiar croak at your door.

            Not sure if there’s a Costco (non-toad) in your vicinity, but if there is, by all means, enjoy their hot dog or polish sausage combo. At an astounding $1.50 for a dog and a drink it’s unbeatable! Talk about cheap eats!

            1. :)

              Nope, no Costco [the store]. Maybe there’s one four hours south of here, but I’m not sure of that. That’s okay, I can survive without big box stores no probskis!

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