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Hump Day

Perfect madeleines with our favorite Paris baker David Lebovitz

The madeleine is a classic French beauty.

When executed well, the elegant, buttery, cake-like cookie has crisp scalloped edges and...a humpback.

"The hump is famous," says the charming, sweets-obsessed blogger, author and American expat David Lebovitz. "No one really knows what it's for, but everyone wants to know how to get that hump."

Lebovitz was once a pastry cook at Chez Panisse and has been baking, blogging and writing books in Paris for the last ten years. In My Paris Kitchen ($22), his latest, Lebovitz tackles the delicate, golden-crumbed cookie (see the recipe).

The secret to getting the rise you need? A little baking powder and a lot of rest--Lebovitz lets the batter sit for an hour, twice.

He also adds a bit of honey for flavor and moisture. The result is a lovely cookie that's best eaten immediately, while still warm, ideally with a cup of tea (and which tastes just as delicious if the hump doesn't materialize).

"They're the perfect treat when I want something that's not too sweet," says Lebovitz, who's been known to pop a few for breakfast.

"I love a little light cake in the morning."

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