Are you a matcha fan? Do you know what it is? It’s a wonderful ingredient to use in baking. These green matcha madeleines are little cakes with attitude. They’re flavoured with Japanese green tea powder (matcha) for complexity and lemon for freshness.
Kouglof is a speciality of Strasbourg and the wider region of Alsace, that fascinating, oft-disputed region, where France and Germany rub shoulders. It’s a sort of brioche studded with almonds and raisins and shaped to look like a crown. Although they can be found all year round, they come into their own at the Strasbourg Christmas Market. The recipe for Strasbourg kouglof here is my take on this classic French bake.
When I spotted Cornish new potatoes at my local greengrocers at the weekend, I couldn’t resist purchasing some. Somehow, a bunch of Cornish asparagus made its way into my basket too. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a vegetarian salade Niçoise.
Back along, nearly three years ago to be exact, I hosted a six course chocolate themed dinner party for friends. These rhubarb friands with white chocolate (that’s with an a not an e) accompanied the rhubarb, rose and white chocolate ice-cream that made up the last course but one. With rhubarb already in season, this seems like a good time to finally publish the recipe.
If you’ve got gooseberries and you’re not quite sure what to do with them, try making this gooseberry galette. It’s a simple rustic French fruit tart with the filling only partially covered by the delicious yet easy to make flaky pastry. If you haven’t got any gooseberries, go out and get some.
A crumbly shortbread type biscuit with a soft mouthfeel and crunchy edges. The granulated sugar around the edge is meant to resemble the sparkle of diamonds. Hence the name diamants or diamond biscuits. You’ll also find a review of the book Teatime in Paris.
Soft spongy moreish madeleines flavoured with mild chilli chocolate. Even more delicious if you drizzle them with a little salted caramel sauce. But probably best if you eat them on the day you make them.
Pots au chocolat is the French name for our more prosaic chocolate pots. These ones are a rich but silky smooth chocolate custard flavoured with Amaretto and decorated with a whipped white chocolate ganache and crushed amaretti biscuits. Perfect for a make ahead dinner party dessert.
Rich and decadent, these salted butterscotch chocolate fondants are a twist on the French classic. Also known as molten lava cakes, these gorgeous puds are perfect for make ahead dinner party desserts.
As soon as I chose honey for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I’ve done nothing but dream of honey bakes. I love honey and if money was no object I’ use it instead of sugar almost exclusively. As well as the flavour, honey has a lot of health benefits which are not found in sugar.
When I saw that Classic French this month was madeleines, my mind immediately moved to how I could incorporate honey and chocolate into these delicate little French cakes. I was recently sent some New Zealand Honey to try out and whilst I liked the woody notes of the 10+ pre-biotic Beech Forest Honeydew, I thought the more floral notes of the 10+ antioxidant Thyme Honey would work better here.
Right until the last minute I was going to grate some milk chocolate into the mix which I thought would give a pretty speckled look. However, I wanted a hint of thyme to shine through and I thought this would be better achieved with white chocolate. I had seen a recipe for Honey Madeleines in a recent book I was sent for review purposes, Stacie Bakes, so I set to and adapted it quite heavily.
This is how I made:
Honey, Thyme and White Chocolate Madeleines
- Melted 50g unsalted butter in a small pan over low heat.
- Added 50g chopped white chocolate and 1 heaped tbsp thyme honey.
- Beat 2 duck eggs with 50g cardamom (caster) sugar until thick, pale and tripled in volume.
- Poured the chocolate mixture gently down the side of the bowl and folded into the egg mixture as gently as possible.
- Sifted in 75g unbleached flour and just over half teaspoon of baking powder.
- Finally folded in a scant teaspoon of finely chopped fresh lemon thyme.
- Spooned into 16 madeleine moulds and baked in the middle of the oven at 180C for ten minutes.
- Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
These were by far and away the most delicious madeleines I’ve made yet. The honey was the predominate flavour, but it also gave them a succulent and sticky texture which was just delightful. White chocolate seems to work really well in bakes and although the flavour can’t be detected, it gives them a certain body and je ne sais quoi. They are very different without it. Lemon thyme & cardamom sugar combined to give a soupcon of citrus to the proceedings. They could, of course, be dusted with icing sugar, but I thought they were quite pretty in their yellow and brown livery, so left them au natural. I got the desired “foot” that is required for a classic madeleine, but in my short madeleine making career, I have not so far had a problem with this. Unlike most madeleines that really need to be eaten as soon after baking as possible, these improved with age and became stickier and even more scrumptious, although that didn’t prevent us from tucking in immediately.
I am obviously entering these madeleines into my very own We Should Cocoa.
I am also submitting them to Classic French with Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes who has chosen Madeleines as this month’s theme.
I adore herbs and use them a lot both in my cooking and for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, but I rarely pair them with chocolate. So it is a rare event that I am able to enter Karen’s excellent Herbs on Saturdays and I am always a little bit excited when I can do so – you never know I might just win a book. This month’s book sounds especially good and right up my street – cooking with edible flowers by Miriam Jacobs. I’m crossing fingers.
Thanks to the New Zealand Honey Co. for sending me some of their delicious honey to try.