Over the course of the next month I am going to be preparing recipes from Carole Bloom’s latest baking tome The Essential Baker, which came out last year. Kim Ode from the Star Tribune hosts a wonderful cookbook review at the Barnes and Noble in Edina called Edesia (it means the Roman Goddess of Food). On May 19th I’ll be one of the “guest experts” and will give my opinion, along with some sample goodies of the recipes I’ve tested. Along the way I thought I would share some of my findings with you.
My family has a romantic history with French Madeleines. The small scallop shaped cake/cookie made famous by Marcel Proust in Remembrance of Things Past. They are my husbands all time favorite treat. Every Valentine’s day he requests a batch, with the understanding that they are for him and him alone. So naturally when Kim gave me the book and I saw Dark Chocolate Madeleines on the cover I knew it would be the first recipe I’d make. I also knew it would be a tough sell. I’ve tried several recipes in the past and have always come back to the tried and true version by Joël Robuchon in the book he wrote with Patricia Wells, Simply French. There are five different flavors in his book and I can’t really pick a favorite, it just depends on my mood. His recipe is laborious, you should really plan a day ahead to make them. The batter is reliant on the flavor of browned butter and improves with time in the refrigerator. But they are absolutely worth every minute spent.
Carole Bloom’s recipe is hands down much easier. Her directions are as clear as can be, which is crucial. But I could tell from reading the recipe that they would not take over as my new favorite. I’m just too attached to that rich flavor imparted from browning the butter, the decadence of almond meal and the silky sweetness of honey in Robuchon’s Madeleine.
My two sons were helping me make the little shell shaped cake from Bloom’s book. In fact, other than putting them in the oven, they did everything, with some guidance of course. This is a real testament to Bloom’s clear writing. The Dark Chocolate Madeleines came out like a cakey brownie, with a fudge center and crisp outside. Not a bad outcome at all, quite tasty indeed. My 6 year old would have eaten them all if I had not stopped him. My husband, who is a connoisseur of this particular confection loved them, but would not have called them a Madeleine except for the shape. Perhaps he is too much of a traditionalist on this one?
I really look forward to more recipes from Carole Bloom’s book The Essential Baker: The Comprehensive Guide to Baking with Chocolate, Fruit, Nuts, Spices, and Other Ingredients.
12 thoughts to “Dark Chocolate Madeleines”
They still look lovely. I am sad to say I have still never had a madeleine and have yet to get a pan, but I’m determined.
Good point. I bet the pans are much more readily available these days. The internet makes everything easy to have.
Do try them! Carole’s are an easy start, but once you test out your pan you have to try Robuchon’s!
Zoë, your madeleines are so beautiful!
I have made this recipe and was very pleased with the result.
Thanks for your feedback! Have you tried any other recipes from Carole’s book that I should not miss? I just made the angle food cake and can’t wait to taste it. It is cooling upside down on the counter right now!
I will be picking your book up this evening — I’ve heard so many good things about it and can’t wait to discover the treasures within! It looks like I will need to check out Carole’s work as well, since I have a weakness for Madeleines too.
A friend gave me a variation of Robuchon’s recipe… so I suspect I’ll be in the traditionalist camp on this one. The time commitment is Proustian, and so very worth it.
I have the pan…but I’ll bet you cannot share the recipe…right?!?!? I have made chocolate madeleines before, but they did not have a center like those in your photos. Are you sure you can’t share?? 🙂
Please do tell me what you think of both books once you’ve sampled their contents!
I’m very curious to see which recipe you prefer for the Madeleines.
I’m conflicted about sharing all of the recipes I’ll be trying. I decided to limit it to those I fall in love with. I really liked the madeleines, but I’m not head over heals in love with them. I think if I share 3 recipes in all, that will be fair to Carole Bloom!?
I made the English breakfast Tea Angle Food Cake yesterday and will share that recipe for sure. My husband went crazy for it!
I don’t own that book, Zoe – unfortunately!
I got the recipe from the blog Bake or Break.
I think I will try your version!
I’ve not heard of that book so I am looking forward to checking it out.
My very favorites are Honey-Orange Madeleines featured in my very battered (in both senses) and sticky May 1994 copy of Bon Appetit. Someone has reproduced it here: http://www.completerecipes.com/133744.htm
So glad I found your site via our mutual friend LifeStyle Revolutionista Denise!
You are a woman after my own heart. I love anything with orange marmalade and in a Madeleine is perfection!
So glad you visit Denise’s wonderful site and come to find mine.