One of my all time favourite combinations for lavender is chocolate and lavender. I bake this Chocolate and lavender tart. I used to think only milk chocolate works well with lavender, but now, I embrace both milk and dark chocolate with lavender depending on my mood or what I have in my kitchen.
I don’t know why I decided to make chocolate and lavender madeleines. It wasn’t planned. I think it started off with “hey, maybe I should make chocolate madelelines and pipe some chocolate ganache in the centers. How come I never thought of doing that?” to “oh yes, I almost forgot that I have lavender”. The rest, as they say, is history.
I’m so pleased with how they turned out. I wonder why we don’t see a combination of chocolate and lavender madeleines more often because these are simply incredible – gobsmackingly delicious.
I always thought madeleines should be eaten fresh out of the oven and I find that they aren’t quite as good when left overnight. Now, I have Dominique Ansel’s (the pastry chef of the Cronut fame) backing on this. He serves up made-to-order madeleines in his bakery in New York because he believes madeleines should be made and eaten straight away. Think warm and fluffy little tea cakes – what’s not to love?
You can make these madelelines quite easily but you need to plan ahead. I make the batter and keep it in the fridge overnight before baking them – this resting period is absolutely crucial for its distinctive bump.
Piping them with a chocolate lavender ganache brings this simple afternoon tea cake to the next level. Dessert, anyone? Imagine that oozy, luscious chocolate flowing out its center just as you bite into it! I can’t think of many more things that are better than that!
Dark chocolate and lavender madeleines
Makes 24 – 28 regular sized madeleines
Adapted from The Ethnic Paris Cookbook by Charlotte Puckette and Olivia Kiang-Snaije
The recipe can be halved but I prefer making more and keeping the leftover batter in the fridge to be baked on a rainy day where warm madeleines would be very welcomed. It is important to have the eggs at room temperature before baking so they can be whisked to their full volume. The melted butter should be added in when it is cooled and not hot (to prevent the batter from deflating too much).
I bake them – one in stainless steel tray and another in a non-stick metal one. The stainless steel tray gives you the best result (a more distinct hump, even colour).
230g unsalted butter
1 tsp culinary grade lavender
240g eggs (About 4 large eggs), room temperature
160g granulated sugar
2 tbsp honey
170g plain flour
60g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1. Chop up butter into cubes before melting it over low heat. When the butter is melted, add the tsp of lavender. Set it aside to infuse and cool before using (about 20 mins).
2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and whisk to mix thoroughly.
3. Place the room temperature eggs in a mixer bowl and whisk at medium speed for about 30 seconds.
4. Add in sugar and honey to the eggs and whisk on medium-high speed for about 5-8 minutes until pale, thick. The batter should be at ribbon stage. It is important not to underbeat at this stage.
5. Add in the sifted ingredients in three additions – using a paddle attachment, beat at low speed until just incorporated.
6. Gradually pour in the melted and cooled butter while the mixer is still running. Do not pour all at once if not it will be difficult to incorporate the large amount of butter into the batter. Mix until well-incorporated.
7. Cling wrap the bowl and refrigerate the batter for at least 3 hours or overnight. The batter could be kept in the fridge for up to a few days.
8. Butter (you can brush on with melted butter) your madeleine trays generously especially around the crevices and place the tray(s) in the freezer.
9. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Take out the madeleine moulds from the freezer and dust flour over the moulds, inverting the trays to tap our any excess flour.
10. Fill a piping bag and pipe each cavity to about 3/4 full. Since the batter is cold (right out from the fridge), these took about 15 minutes to bake. If you are baking them on the same day of making the batter, they may take a shorter time (check at 10 minutes). The madeleines should be well-risen, with its distinctive hump.
11. Invert the madeleines onto a wire rack. They should come out easily if you have done a good job at buttering the trays. Best served immediately, dusted with icing sugar, while still warm. Pipe the ganache at this stage, if using.
Dark chocolate and lavender ganache
100g 66% chocolate couverture
150g double cream
1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp culinary grade lavender
1. Chop up the chocolate couverture into small bites. Set aside.
2. Heat double cream in a pot with lavender until it is warm to touch, or 45 degrees celcius if using a thermometer. Set aside to allow the lavender to infuse for about 20 mins.
3. Bring the infused cream up to a boil with the honey. Pour over chopped chocolate and stir until well- incoporated.
4. Cling wrap the chocolate ganache with the clingwrap touching the ganache so that a skin doesn’t form. Keep it in the refrigerater until cool.
5. Take out the ganache and whisk until pipable consistency (still hold its form).
6. Using a piping bag and a round nozzle, pipe the ganache into the center of the warm madeleines. Serve immediately.
*Storage tip: These madeleines are best eaten immediately. If you really have to, store them in an air-tight container and finish them within a day or two.