In France, madeleines are pretty much the one sweet thing everyone has had before. They're as famous as La Joconde, and you can find them in most bakeries at any given time. Thanks to Marcel Proust, who wrote in length about them, they've come to represent sweet memories you associate with childhood. In fact, most people had their first madeleines as a four o'clock snack when coming home from school as children.
The best madeleines are often thought to come from Commercy, a town in the Eastern Lorraine region of France where they originated in the late 18th century. One thing Commercy madeleines aren't, however, is savory.
But hey, why not?
I wanted my savory madeleines to be the perfect snack for the apéro, the French tradition of having a drink in the early evening before dinner. Once the weather gets nice, you can walk along any street in Paris and you'll probably see loads of people having a glass of wine before dinner, around 6 p.m. A nice savory madeleine shouldn't be bland; it should have bold flavors, something that sticks around in your mind.
I looked around my freezer and noticed I still had some chipotles in adobo lying around. Unconventional for a madeleine, sure, but I imagined it could only be delicious if you added a little cheddar alongside the chipotle. And delicious it was!
Seriously, if you're looking for a super simple snack for a cocktail party or buffet, try this. The shape is a nice change from mini-muffins and the like, and the taste is really something. Pair it with a strong glass of red wine and it'll be perfect. Even Proust might have enjoyed it.
Spicy Cheddar-Chipotle Madeleines
makes 10 large madeleines
2 eggs, separated
1/3 c. + 1 TS (80g) all-purpose flour
1 TS (5g) baking powder
4 TB oil
scant 1/4 c. (50g) cheddar, chopped into tiny cubes
1 chipotle pepper, chopped
1 TB adobo sauce
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 230°C / 450°F.
In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and egg yolks. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg whites by hand.
Mix egg whites and oil into the bowl. Add remaining ingredients and blend until just combined.
Spread batter into greased madeleine pans. Bake for 4 minutes, turn oven temperature down to 180°C / 350°F, and bake another 6 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of a madeleine comes out clean.
Cool on a rack, and eat the same day if possible: the fresher they are, the better.