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2020 has certainly been a year we will never forget. Everyone has been affected by the pandemic in one way or another, but however difficult it’s been, there have been some bright spots. While families and friends were sheltered together, the months at home spurred creativity all around: people rekindled their love of music, they baked together, they watched home movies and browsed through old photo albums. Happy memories of being with extended family and friends helped to fill our days, along with the restored faith that we would make it through this unprecedented time.

French novelist Marcel Proust writes about his lasting memories in an excerpt from his novel In Search of Lost Time (also known as Remembrance of Things Past). The sight, smell, and taste of a simple madeleine evokes memories of Proust’s childhood, much like the sights, sounds, and smells of Talloires evoke happy recollections for all who have visited there.  Through the years, students, professors, interns, and staff, near and far, have enjoyed reminiscing about their time in France, and although new memories couldn’t be made this year, 2021 brings new hope. In the spirit of Proust’s journey down memory lane, please enjoy the excerpt below and also the recipe for madeleines to accompany it. Give it a try and let us know how your madeleines come out!

“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. … Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? … And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.”


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter(plus another 2 Tbsp for the pan)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (115g) sifted all-purpose flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional:confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling on top

Special Tools

  • madeleine pan
  • pastry brush


Visit the link here for full instructions from Sally’s Baking Addiction, the recipe we tried. (Spoiler: the madeleines are delicious!)