Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Chocolate Chilli Madeleines

The good folk at work gave me a voucher for a local kitchen shop for my birthday last year. It took me a while, but I finally spent it – on some silicone Madeleine moulds. Not only have I never made Madeleines before, but I don’t remember ever having eaten one either. So, it really was time to change this. I wasn’t entirely sure what they should be like, so it was Dan Lepard who I placed my faith in; I based my recipe on his Madeleines de Commercy from Short and Sweet. I used my usual half wholemeal, half white flour mix and substituted the vanilla extract for my homemade chocolate extract as well as swapping some of the flour for cocoa.

This is what I did:

  • Melted 75g unsalted butter gently in a small pan then set aside to cool.
  • Whisked 2 duck eggs and 75g golden caster sugar together for quite a long time it seemed, using electric beaters. Whisked until the mixture had trebled in volume and was pale and thick.
  • Sifted in 90g flour (half spelt, half white), 10g cocoa, 1/4 tsp cayenne and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • Folded this in as gently as possible trying not to lose too much air from the eggs.
  • Poured the butter in down one side of the bowl and folded this in together with 2 tsp chocolate extract until just incorporated.
  • Placed a tbsp of the mixture into 12 Madeleine moulds.
  • Finding I had quite a bit left over, I divided the remaining mixture between 5 muffin moulds.
  • Baked for 10 minutes at 200C until well risen and firm to the touch.
  • Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
Hooray, my first Madeleines were a success. They turned out well, had the classic shell like shape and looked pretty. They tasted buttery, had a nice hit of cocoa and chilli and weren’t too sweet. I have no idea what the texture is meant to be like, but these were light and spongy. Unlike Proust, they didn’t take me back to my youth, but the Atkins & Potts chocolate spread did, vraiment.

Blackcurrant and Rose Nonnettes

The letter for this month’s Alpha Bakes is N. Apart from nuts, I could think of nothing else other than Nonnettes and as I haven’t made any of these wonderful eggless French honey cakes for a while, this seemed like a good opportunity. I decided I’d adapt and use half the amount of the original Nonnette recipe to make 12 smaller cakes using my new muffin cases. A half eaten jar of my mother’s delicious blackcurrant jam was sitting in the cupboard and I still had a bit of rose syrup that really needed using up. Blackcurrant and rose proved to be a nice combination as evinced by the blackcurrant, rose and white chocolate ice-cream I made in the summer.

Here’s what I did:

  • Melted 40g unsalted butter in a pan.
  • Added 100g local Cornish honey and 50g light brown sugar.
  • Turned off the heat and added 50g milk and 50g rose syrup.
  • Stirred until smooth then left to cool.
  • Sifted 100g plain white flour, 50g rye flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda into a bowl.
  • Added the grated zest from 1/2 a small orange.
  • Stirred in 25g chopped white chocolate.
  • Made a well in the centre and poured in the honey mixture.
  • Stirred until just combined.
  • Divided the mixture between 12 silicone muffin cases and left in my cold kitchen for half an hour.
  • Placed a small teaspoonful of blackcurrant jam on the top of each one.
  • Baked at 180C for 16 minutes.
  • Left to cool
  • Mixed 1 heaped tbsp icing sugar with about a tbsp of rose syrup to form a slightly runny icing.
  • Drizzled these over the cakes whilst they were still slightly warm.

These were as good as I imagined they would be, that is to say, thoroughly delicious. They were sweet, sticky and flavoursome with a lovely smooth texture. The blackcurrant was a good strong flavour and its tartness helped to counteract the overall sweetness. CT was surprised by the little bits of white chocolate, but enjoyed them. Licking fingers is an occupational hazard with these, although CT didn’t seem to be unduly bothered.

I am entering these into Alpha Bakes with Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes as N for Nonnettes.

As October is such a great time to preserve Autumn’s bounty, Kate of What Kate Baked has cleverly chosen preserves for this month’s Tea Time Treats. TTT is co-hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.

Chris over at Cooking Around the World has started a new challenge Bloggers Around the World. Sadly I didn’t manage to join in last month with Germany as the selected country. This month, it’s France so I’m submitting these Nonnettes.

As these honey cakes are eggless, I am also submitting them to Cook Eat Delicious Desserts where the theme this month is honey. It is being hosted this month by Nivedhanam.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Friands

My friends the friands are back. This time it’s with a bright pink fruity version. I give you my very own mini raspberry & white chocolate friands, made for after dinner nibbles with friends.

This is what I did:

  • Melted 60g unsalted butter in a small pan and left to cool.
  • Crushed 50g raspberries in a small bowl with the back of a fork.
  • Whisked 2 duck egg whites until frothy in a larger bowl.
  • Whisked in 80g sifted icing sugar.
  • Gently stirred in the melted butter and crushed raspberries.
  • Stirred 30g buckwheat flour and 40g ground almonds.
  • Stirred in 50g white chocolate chips.
  • Placed a teaspoon of the mixture in 12 mini silicone cupcake cases.
  • Placed a whole raspberry on top then filled the cases up with more mixture.
  • Divided the remaining mixture between 4 larger silicone cupcakes cases.
  • Baked for about 15 minutes at 180C until firm and well risen.
  • Left to cool for a little, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Dusted with icing sugar.

Utterly scrumptious, these little friands had just the right balance of sweetness and fruity acidity.  The juicy texture combined with the bright colour made these gorgeous to look at and just as good to eat. These were so moist they needed to be consumed on the day, but to be honest, this was not a difficulty.

These are the other scrummy friands I’ve made so far.

I am submitting these to the fabulicious Simple and in Season event. Having been on tour for a few months, this is now back home with Ren of Fabulicious Food.

I’m also submitting them to Let’s Cook with Fruits, a one off event this month hosted by Simply Food.

Rhubarb & Rose Honey Cakes – Nonnettes

When I found that rhubarb had been picked for the One Ingredient blogging event in April, I so wanted to take part. But our rhubarb was ailing and I just can’t bring myself to buy something that we used to produce in prodigious quantities on our old allotment plot. The other day, however, my mother, called in with stack of rhubarb from her garden – plants we had luckily given her from our old plot. Hooray, the one ingredient challenge might be over, but I could bake with rhubarb. Since I saw the rose and rhubarb combination over at Laura of How to Cook Good Food, I’ve been itching to try it. My only dilemma was in what form? Actually, the dilemma was easily solved;  my one remaining duck egg supplier was attending a wedding this week and I had run out of eggs. An egg free bake was needed. Bingo! Nonnettes it had to be – not exactly a hardship in my experience! Since first trying Nonnettes back in December, I have become enraptured with these very tasty honey cakes. What with Friands as well as the Madeleines I have yet to bake, the French are little cake bakers par excellence.

I was quite excited at coming up with a Nonnette nouvelle. The combination of rose and roasted rhubarb jam has probably never been used before. This in conjunction with some delicious Cornish honey, ought to be irresistible, I thought. As we still had quite a bit of cake in the house from my recent Clandestine Cake Club event, I used half the normal quantities to make six rather than twelve individual cakes.

This is what I did:

  • Chopped up 4 sticks (about 300g) of washed & trimmed rhubarb into 1 cm lengths.
  • Placed these in a greased Pyrex dish and sprinkled a teaspoon of rose water over the top.
  • Spooned 50g cardamom sugar (caster sugar) over the rhubarb.
  • Roasted at 200C for 30 minutes.
  • Left to cool, then spooned into a jar.
  • Melted 40g unsalted butter in a pan.
  • Added 100g local Cornish runny honey and 50g light brown sugar.
  • Turned off the heat and added 50g milk, 40g water and 10g of rhubarb liqueur (homemade) with a tsp of rose water.
  • Stirred until smooth then left to cool.
  • Ground the seeds from two cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar.
  • Sifted 100g plain white flour, 50g rye flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda into a bowl.
  • Added the cardamom and the grated zest from 1/2 a small orange.
  • Stirred in 25g chopped white chocolate.
  • Made a well in the centre and poured in the honey mixture.
  • Stirred until all combined.
  • Divided the mixture between 6 buttered muffin moulds and placed in the fridge for an hour.
  • Placed a spoonful of rhubarb jam on the top of each one.
  • Baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
  • Left to cool
  • Mixed 1 tbsp icing sugar with a little rhubarb liqueur (homemade) and a drop of rose water to form a slightly runny icing.
  • Drizzled these over the cakes whilst they were still warm.

These turned out even better than I could have wished. After the first bite, I was very much regretting making six rather than twelve. They were absolutely scrummy and as CT stated later, tasted French – I think this was a compliment. They had a lovely soft texture which I attribute to the presence of rye flour. The rose made its presence felt but was not in the least overpowering and contrasted well with the distinctive tartness of the rhubarb. The roasted rhubarb jam was a delight in itself and has adorned various slices of toast all this week.

When making these Nonnettes, I had not one, not two, not three, but four blog challenges in mind:

Simple and in Season – a monthly challenge to get us to cook uncomplicated food using seasonal ingredients by Ren of Fabulicious Food. This month it is being guest hosted by Urvashi of The Botanical Baker.

Alpha BakesCaroline Makes and Ros of The more than occasional baker take it in turns to pick a random letter from the alphabet which inspires the theme of the bake. This month Caroline picked H and my H is for Honey Cakes.

Tea Time Treats – the fabulously sugar overloaded monthly tea time party run alternately by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked. The theme this month is floral. Rose is my flower of choice, because I love roses as mentioned in previous posts and one of the reasons why I chose Rose as one of the We Should Cocoa challenges.

Made with Love Mondays – Javelin Warrior’s weekly challenge to get everyone making dishes from scratch from Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w / Luv.

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Brown Butter Choc Chip Friands – We Should Cocoa 21

Newly introduced to friands, I am now a real fan. Half way between a macaroon and a cake, these are gloriously crisp on the outside, soft and delectable on the inside. As soon as Laura of How to Cook Good Food announced this month’s ingredient for We Should Cocoa was to be almonds, friands were the first thing that popped into my head. And that idea has not gone away. Friands it is then.

Friands are very similar to financiers. Without being an expert on the subject and unable to find much information about these little cakes, it seems that friands are the antipodean version of the French financier. Financiers are traditionally baked in a rectangular shape and are made with brown butter or hazelnut butter (beurre noisette) as it is known in France. Friands are, apparently, baked in oval moulds. Mine are baked in round moulds because that’s all I have. Anyway, I thought I’d try baking some friands with the traditional financier brown butter to see what difference it made.

 

Co-incidentally, minutes before I was about to bake these, I read a post for brown butter chocolate chunk cookies over at The Little Loaf. As well as using buerre noisette in her cookies she had also used buckwheat flour to make them gluten free. Well what a brilliant idea. Friands don’t have much flour, relying mostly on ground almonds, so it seemed an opportunity not to be missed to make them gluten free.

It is always useful to have a few good gluten free recipes up ones sleeve. Coeliac disease is something we are becoming increasingly aware of. However, although CT has a friend who suffers from it, I had no idea it was quite as prevalent as it is, with 1 in 100 people being affected by it in the UK. It is an autoimmune condition affecting the lining of the small intestine and is triggered by the consumption of gluten. Gluten is found in a number of grains, but specifically wheat, rye and barley. Katie of Apple & Spice who was diagnosed with the disease about a year ago is running a coeliac awareness raising challenge to coincide with National Coeliac Awareness Week (14th-20th May).

This is what I did:

  • Melted 90g unsalted butter over a low heat and left to bubble gently. Checking every now and again, left it until the solids had sunk to the bottom and turned a light brown. Immediately took off the heat as I didn’t want the butter to burn. Left to cool.
  • Whisked 3 duck eggs whites until frothy (not stiff).
  • Stirred in the cooled butter.
  • Sifted in 120g icing sugar, 45g buckwheat flour and 60g ground almonds.
  • Chopped 50g dark chocolate (85%) and stirred in as lightly as possible.
  • Spooned into 12 silicone mini muffin cases and divided the remainder between 6 larger ones.
  • Sprinkled the tops with slivered almonds.
  • Baked at 180C for 15 minutes and removed the mini friands. Baked the larger ones for a further 3 minutes (18 in total).
  • Placed on a rack to cool a bit, then turned out of the cases to cool completely.
  • Dusted with icing sugar.

The aroma of the nut like butter as it turned brown was delicious and filled the house with its fragrance. The mini friands were destined to go to friends, but CT and I got to try the larger ones. These were as good as I remembered the cinnamon choc chip ones to be, if not better. the buckwheat flour worked really well, although we couldn’t detect anything specific. The brown butter gave an added depth to the almonds bringing out the nutty flavour as well as adding a slight richness to the whole. The mellow sweetness of the friand combined well with the dark bitter chocolate and made for an excellent and varied taste experience.

Cinnamon Choc Chip Friands

 A while back, ahem, I had two egg whites left over from the coconut cream pie I made. Since making friands for the first time just after Christmas, I had something other than meringues or macaroons to use them in and I was keen to experiment some more.

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White Chocolate Nonnettes and Orange & Poppy Seed Friands

Having seen Phil’s We Should Cocoa entry in the Orange challenge from As Stong As Soup in December, I couldn’t resist making these for my mother’s birthday. Nonnettes, it seems, are little known outside of France. I searched on google for more information and alternative recipes, but Phil’s was the only one I could find in English (I gave up after page 6). The name means “little nuns” and they are a speciality of Dijon in France. They are little spiced honey cakes made with marmalade and rye flour and unusually, no eggs.

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