Are you searching for the perfect delicacy to go with your morning coffee or afternoon cup of tea? Allow us to introduce you to our mouth-watering orange chocolate madeleines. They feature a few drops of orange essential oil for a sunny hit of citrus that pairs perfectly with the luxury of dark chocolate. The only challenge is stopping after eating just one!
Mad about madeleines
Madeleines are among France’s most beloved sweet treats. Instantly recognisable thanks to their distinctive shell shape, these cookie-sized sponge cakes are surprisingly simple to make. But before we discuss our chocolate madeleines recipe, let’s step back in time to the mysterious origins of this dessert. There are several legends that give differing accounts of the invention of madeleines. Some believe a pastry chef called Jean Avice, who worked for Prince Talleyrand, created them in the 19th century. Others claim they originated in the 1700s, when a maid named Madeleine cooked a batch for the Duke of Lorraine. The story goes on to say that King Louis XV tried madeleines during a trip to the region. He and his wife enjoyed them so much that they introduced them to the French court in Versailles. After that, the cakes quickly became a firm favourite. What truly cemented madeleines in the public psyche, however, was their inclusion in Proust’s novel Remembrance of Things Past. He uses the cakes as an example of how a sensory experience can trigger powerful involuntary memories. The narrator bites into a madeleine dipped in tea, which triggers a wave of childhood recollections to come flooding back. This idea of a particular scent or taste causing an unexpected rush of memories became known as a ‘madeleine moment’. It’s something almost everyone has experienced, and helped to immortalise the cakes in pop culture. Traditionally, madeleines are light and buttery, and often flavoured with lemon and finely ground almonds. However, they're extremely versatile. You can season the batter with all sorts of different ingredients – including making orange chocolate madeleines. The zesty citrus perfectly complements the rich bitterness of the cocoa, and there’s a comforting nostalgia to this popular pairing. The best bit? Both elements are good for you!
How dark chocolate can benefit your health
Dark chocolate isn’t just tasty – when eaten in moderation, it can support your health in several ways. Firstly, dark chocolate may help to take care of your heart. This is because it’s rich in potent plant compounds such as flavanols, polyphenols and catechins, which act as antioxidants. These could work to lower your risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels, relaxing arteries, and decreasing blood pressure.(1) Interestingly, dark chocolate may also lessen the chance of developing diabetes by improving insulin resistance.(2) Another reason that dark chocolate is good for you is that it contains high levels of numerous key minerals. These include magnesium, iron, zinc and selenium.(3) Such minerals are crucial for everything from maintaining healthy blood cells to supporting the immune system. One of the things we love most about dark chocolate is that it’s also beneficial for your brain. As mentioned above, tucking into it can improve blood flow. In addition to being good for the heart, this is advantageous for our cognitive functions. Indeed, studies suggest that cocoa could have neuroprotective effects. It may help to treat mild cognitive impairment in older people and reduce the chance of it progressing to dementia.(4) As if you need more reason to indulge in orange chocolate madeleines, research also indicates that the flavanols in cocoa can improve cognitive performance in healthy young people.(5) Moreover, it could even help to boost sports performance due to the epicatechins it contains. These flavanols increase the amount of nitric oxide in the blood, so athletes don’t need to use as much oxygen when exercising.(6) Remember, to enjoy these benefits, it’s important to choose top quality chocolate for your orange chocolate madeleines. Try to pick bars with a high cocoa percentage, and little or no added sugar.
The zesty health benefits of oranges
In these madeleines chocolate isn’t the only ingredient that supports your health. It will come as no surprise that oranges are good for you too! Most famously, they’re impressively rich in vitamin C. This nutrient has a wealth of benefits, from supporting the immune system to maintaining healthy skin. Evidence also suggests that high intake of vitamin C lowers the risk of conditions like heart disease and cancer.(7) Interestingly, vitamin C additionally enhances your body’s ability to absorb iron – thus helping to prevent anaemia. One more good reason to include orange in your chocolate madeleines recipe! Vitamin C, along with several carotenoids and flavonoids in oranges, also has potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants play a key role in protecting your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Research has linked this oxidative stress to numerous chronic health conditions, from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and Alzheimer’s. It even contributes to ageing. Speaking of heart disease, studies indicate that oranges can benefit cardiovascular health in a multitude of ways. For example, they’re rich in a compound called hesperidin, which works to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.(8) Hesperidin also has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the risk of conditions like arthritis and obesity. Evidence further suggests that consuming oranges could assist in decreasing blood sugar, offering greater protection against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.(9) The fruit may even lessen the danger of developing kidney stones thanks to the citrate it contains.(10) You can enjoy these benefits regardless of how you consume oranges. Whether eating them raw, drinking orange juice, or adding orange zest and oil to recipes like chocolate madeleines, you’ll be supporting your health. Having said that, whole oranges are higher in fibre than orange juice, making them more beneficial for your digestive system.
Now that you know some of the benefits of tucking into orange chocolate madeleines, let’s discuss how to bake them! Although they look complicated, the only special equipment you need is a madeleine tray. Likewise, the recipe includes several ingredients but is straightforward to make. Begin by lightly oiling the madeleine tray and preheating your oven. Then combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. That’s the flour, almond meal, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder, salt, and psyllium husks. Sifting them can help ensure you don’t get any lumps in the batter. Afterwards, mix the milk, mashed banana, avocado oil, orange juice, orange zest and orange essential oil in a separate bowl. We’ve suggested using oat milk, however feel free to swap this for another plant-based option if you prefer. Similarly, you can switch the coconut sugar for an alternative sweetener. Remember, if you use a liquid option like agave nectar, mix it with the wet ingredients, not the dry. As discussed above, go for quality when choosing the chocolate to use for these orange chocolate madeleines. The higher the cocoa percentage, the greater the health benefits. In terms of flavour, this also increases the bitterness, so the cakes won’t taste overly sweet. It’s now time to add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Pour it in slowly, and stir gently using either a whisk or a batter spatula. Once it’s fully combined, scoop 2-4 tablespoons of batter into the individual madeleine moulds on the tray. Then pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once they’re ready, leave the orange chocolate madeleines to cool and then lightly dust them with cocoa powder. The resulting cakes should have a thin, crisp exterior and gorgeously light and fluffy interior. Delicious!
Culinary creativity: using orange essential oil in chocolate madeleines
Most of us are familiar with the idea of using essential oils in the bath, skincare products, or a diffuser. However, the concept of adding them to recipes like orange chocolate madeleines isn’t as well known. This is a shame, because it’s a fabulous way to add a wellness-boosting dash of flavour and aroma to dishes! In this chocolate madeleines recipe, the orange essential oil truly is the star of the show. With just a few drops, it brings a vibrant and mood-enhancing pop of citrus to every bite. The fact that essential oils are so concentrated means you only need to use a very small amount. Consequently, you can add them to various dishes without having to adjust the recipes to compensate for the extra liquid. For these orange chocolate madeleines, five drops really is all that’s required! So be sure to reduce the quantity you include if you scale down the recipe. Finally, always choose oils which are certified as food grade – like our organic orange essential oil – when cooking. This means that they have been deemed safe for human consumption in addition to aromatherapy and other therapeutic uses.