Chocolate-chip Madeleines

This recipe is adapted from Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes – it’s a fabulous twist on a delicious French classic; a light, delicious sponge made with honey. If you’re serving up an afternoon tea, this is a great way to impress without having to pull off anything too complicated.

135g margarine
2 tablespoons of honey
3 eggs
125g golden caster sugar
135g self-raising flour
150g chocolate (white, milk or dark – it’s up to you!)

Makes about 24.

First of all, a quick word on ingredients. A lot of baking books will tell you to use butter in your recipes, but I have to say I find cakes often rise better with a good quality margarine. It’s also easier to work with and it’s cheaper. You can use ordinary caster sugar if you like, but golden tends to be the same price and gives your cakes a lovely colour.

Melt the margarine and the honey together in the microwave, stir well, and pop it on one side to cool. Next, whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mixture has doubled in volume – I used to do this by hand, but it takes forever, so I’d really advise you to invest in a handheld electric mixer! They usually come with a variety of attachments and they really speed up so many jobs in the kitchen.

Add the flour and the butter mixture to the eggs, and fold in until you have a smooth mixture. Using a long knife and a chopping board, cut the chocolate into chunks, and add these too. Then pop a plate on top of the bowl and place in the fridge for an hour or two, to rest.

When you’re ready, preheat the oven to 190˚C. If you’ve got a madeleine mould (they make your madeleines come out like beautiful scallop shells and they’re not expensive, so it’s worth getting one), grease it well, and make sure to grease around the edges of the moulds as well as inside. If you don’t have one, just use a normal bun tin. Put a big spoonful of mixture in each mould.

Bake for fifteen minutes – not a second longer! You want them to be just firm to the touch, so that they stay light and delicate inside. Eat while they’re warm, with a big mug of good-quality coffee – bliss.