Veronica Henry: My Ultimate Reading Snack Recipe for Proustian Madeleines

Veronica Henry: My Ultimate Reading Snack Recipe for Proustian Madeleines

Waking early before everyone else in the summer, when the sunlight streams into my bedroom, and devouring a few chapters before I get up, is the perfect start to the day. I often curl up in the afternoon on a drop-ended sofa left to me by my grandmother. This is when I read for work rather than pleasure – material that I need for research, or authors who inspire me, or books I have been sent. I know my grandmother would love to know her little sofa has been put to such good use, and it’s never really ‘work’. At the end of a long day of writing, when my shoulders are tingling from being hunched over the laptop, I run a bath and sink into the scented bubbles with a glass of wine and race through a few more chapters of my current passion before cooking the evening meal. What I would love more than anything – but can’t have because I don’t have any big enough trees in my garden – is a hammock. The sensation of being gently cradled, rocking from side to side, strikes me as the ideal physical state to read in.

Once you’ve found your perfect reading place, there must be sustenance to accompany one’s reading. A drink to curl your fingers around, and perhaps something to nibble. Something plain that won’t distract too much, and only needs one hand. To my mind, the slightly vanilla-scented sponge of a Proustian madeleine is the ultimate reading snack. This recipe makes about two dozen – that sounds a lot but it won’t be!

  1. List Of Ingredients
  2. 125g unsalted butter
  3. 200g caster sugar
  4. 4 free-range eggs
  5. Dash of best vanilla essence
  6. 240g plain flour
  7. 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  8. 50 ml full fat milk
  9. 125g unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 5. Butter your madeleine tins, dust lightly with flour and put in the fridge.

Melt the butter carefully so as not to burn.

Whisk the sugar, eggs and essence in a bowl.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and stir well.

Mix in the milk, then the melted butter.

Rest the mixture for about half an hour, then ladle carefully into the moulds, taking care not to overfill.

Put in the oven for seven minutes.

Take out of the oven and turn out carefully while they are still warm. Dust with a little icing sugar.

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