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Dark Chocolate Pepper Madeleines

As I cook and create, I often make up stories in my head if there aren't real ones to accompany the recipe. This month's Sugar High Friday theme of "Sweet Heat" seemed an appropriate occasion to bring that inner narrative to life. I wanted to create a spicy/hot twist on the traditional French cake, the madeleine.

But as I was mixing, I kept thinking of them in my mind as "hot madeleines." I kept wondering:  who is, or was "Hot Madeleine?" Maybe she was a Moulin Rouge dancer or some Josephine Baker-like (below) character who went around offering up a real "burlesque dessert." Maybe her name was Madeleine. Can't you just see her open hand holding a little plate of them? 

From my experiments with the various kinds of hot peppers I could have used in the cake, I learned that you cannot judge a madeleine simply by its color.

The undipped half of the cake looks traditional enough but when you bite in, you don't expect the hint of tangy, sweet vegetable flavor. It also suggests the lemon (that is there), the coconut and a very tiny mystery tinge- a spice. In this case:  coriander and cardmom. The chocolate has chipotle chili peppers in it. The cake has diced small peppers like the one shown at the far left in the batter.

While the chile chocolate only detracted from the taste, my goal of using vegetables to upend a very classic dessert worked well.  And the coarse salt I used baked out to the edges giving the cakes an unusual coconutty-salty experience that was well received. Veggies can be part of desserts with delicate flavors!

The recipe:  Martha's Lemon Madeleine recipe combined with the following additional dry ingredients:

2 tablespoons flaked, unsweetened coconut
1 tbs. mini sweet pepper
2 pinches of ground coriander
1 pinch freshly grated cardamom pods

Once cooled, they were dipped in melted Chipotle Chili Dark chocolate  bars I found at Cost Plus. If you're making dessert for a hot foods lover, give the chocolate a try- maybe it will work for you.

Thanks to my brave taste testers, I also learned this recipe can fly all on its own without the chocolate.

Garnish:  I chose pink and purple sugar sprinkles (because they were obnoxious and synthetic and seemed a laugh--maybe at me--next to my garden tomatoes) and flaked, unsweetened coconut.

A toast to dessert and dance!

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