Spanish madeleines

One of the things I remember with fondness from our family trips to Spain as a child is how it was the norm to have sweet things for breakfast. From churros con chocolate to nice pastries, starting the day with something sweet made me feel like every morning was really special. Madeleines were one of those delicious breakfast items, and whether plain or with chocolate chips, they were dunked in our hot drink and eaten quickly. The secret to Spanish madeleines is olive oil, that’s why they are so light and springy. Cacao nibs (small pieces of pure raw cacao bean) give them a delicate chocolate flavour, without the guilt, but you can also make them with grated lemon or rose water.


Ingredients (for 20 small seashell madeleines)
100g olive oil (not extra-virgin)
100g caster sugar
100g gluten-free self-rasing flour
1 large free-range egg
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
30g cacao nibs (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease the madeleines baking tray with a pastry brush and some olive oil, soaking up any excess with kitchen paper.
2. Mix the oil and sugar, until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk vigorously, until the batter is foamy, then add cocoa nibs. Fold in the the flour.
3. Fill each hole in the madeleine tray with one tablespoon of the batter, then bake for 5-8 minutes. The madeleines should be browning around the edges and puffed up a little in the middle. Press lightly on the center hump, if the madeleines spring back, then they are ready.
4. Remove the madeleines from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Using a fork, gently loosen the madeleines from their molds and leave them to cool down on a cooling rack.

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