Hello there! How are you all doing? This past weekend, we had what I like to think of as the real first day of spring. The sky was clear, the day was full of light, and it was actually warm here in Minnesota! We got to 60 degrees. Inspired by the weather, I bought some lavender plants and we did some work in the garden: raking leaves, pruning, watering, and even planting a few flower beds. It felt so good to be outside.
I love the scent of lavender. It is floral and delicate and sweet. Growing up, we had a lavender bush in our garden, and my Mom used to cut the lavender flowers, dry them, and put them in little silk pillows, which she hid in our dresser drawers so our clothes would be perfumed. What a fond memory! My Mom is the best. She always had thoughtful details like that. So, in Minnesota, you can’t grow lavender like you can in Buenos Aires or France. The climate zone here is too northern for the plant to survive the harsh winters, so I keep my lavender plants indoors during the cold season and enjoy them for as long as I can. Lavender is not just a stunning plant with beautiful purple flowers: It is also an herb with many culinary uses. It can impart that wonderful floral-scented quality to the baked goods where it is used. Funnily enough, lavender can be used not only in sweet baked goods but in savory dishes as well, such as meat rubs, entrees, and vegetable dishes.
In spite of my familiarity with lavender flowers, I’ve never used it in cooking. Luckily, you can find culinary-grade dried lavender year-round, which allows us all to be able to enjoy lavender in different forms beyond its blooming season. I’ve never used it in baking, so I thought I would give it a try.
Now be aware that a little bit of dried lavender goes a long way. If you put too much, it can be so overpowering that your cookies or cakes will taste like soap! I combined the dried lavender with my all-time favorite Meyer lemon zest. We all know about my great love of lemons. The acidity in the lemon balances out the earthiness of the lavender and it brightens up the buttery quality of the madeleine. I hope you will give this recipe a try. Enjoy it, and enjoy the beginning of spring! See you then.
Prep time: 20 min.
Chill time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10-12 min.
Servings: 12 cakes
- 2 eggs + 1 yolk
- 6 tbsp butter
- 3/8 cup sugar – 2 tsp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour +1 tsp for the mortar
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp lavender
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 oz. white chocolate (optional)
- sprinkles (optional)
- Place the butter in a small saucepan and melt on low heat. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the eggs and egg yolks until they take on a pale lemon color.
- Slowly add the sugar, sprinkling it gradually into the mix, and continue to beat on medium high for about 3 or 4 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pale in color, the consistency of a light mousse.
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Using a spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the dried lavender.
- Add the lemon zest, 1 tsp flour, and 1 tsp sugar to the pounded lavender flowers.
- Add the lavender/lemon mixture to the batter, mixing well until it is evenly distributed.
- Add the melted butter in two additions. Continue beating until the butter is fully incorporated. Finally, add 1 tsp lemon juice to the mix.
- Transfer the batter to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (If you’re making ahead, you can also refrigerate them overnight to bake the next day.)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, butter and flour a 12-cavity madeleine pan.
- When ready to bake, fill each madeleine cavity up to ¾ with the batter. You can use a small cookie scoop like I did, or a piping bag, or simply a pair of spoons to measure out the quantity. Try not to over-fill the cavities.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cakes have a little bump on the top and the top of the madeleines springs gently when pressed. You can also try testing with a toothpick for doneness.
- Allow the madeleines to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before unmolding. After unmolding, transfer cakes to a wire rack and allow cakes to cool completely before dipping in the white chocolate.
- You could most certainly eat the madeleines plain. Personally, I love them in their simplest form. Or, you could sprinkle them with powdered sugar. But if you want to do the last step of this recipe and coat them in white chocolate, it adds a nice touch. Prepare a double boiler and gently place the white chocolate in the top of the double boiler, allowing it to melt over the steam.
- Once the chocolate is fully melted, dip one corner of the madeleine in the melted chocolate and carefully place it back on the rack so the chocolate can set. Sprinkle with purple sprinkles or any other decoration you desire while the chocolate is still warm.
- Allow the chocolate to set before serving. Madeleines are at their best when fresh out of the oven, or within the same day, but you could always store them in an airtight container to extend their shelf life.