These English Lavender Madeleines are mixing French and English into one delicious bite sized bake. I love to research old and traditional bakes and I always forget the history behind Madeleines. This is probably due to the fact that the origin of the Madeleine is a bit of a mystery. Some believe it originates in Lorraine in France and is linked to the household of a Duke where a cook named Madeleine was instrumental in the baking of the treats. Another version links the little cakes to the French Royal household and a third describes a little girl called Madeleine on pilgrimage from Spain who came across the cakes on her journey and returned to Spain with the French recipe.
Whichever story you believe, the Madeleine is a popular snack in France to this day still and the English have adopted the recipe and made it their own.
Is English lavender edible?
Quite simply the answer is yes! Lavender is after all a herb and as you read on you will find out when to pick your lavender, how to prepare it, how to store it and what you can bake with English Lavender. Other lavenders are not so great for consumption, so stick to the common well-known English Lavender that you see growing on long elegant stems.
When can you harvest English Lavender?
When does English Lavender bloom and when can you harvest it depends on where you are in the world. Generally lavender blooms in abundance in the UK in July and continues to flower throughout August and into September. The best time to harvest your lavender depends on what you want to use it for [see below].
If you do not have a lavender bush in your garden or nearby then I have added a link at the bottom of this post for you to purchase a bag from Amazon, for transparency it is an affiliate link so I will get a few pennies at no cost to yourself but every little helps to fund my website.
How to prepare English Lavender for eating
Baking with Lavender flowers
When the flowers are newly opened (and bees are busy collecting pollen) you can collect the tiny flower heads for salads, decoration or add into baking as they are. Gently wash the flowers in cold water and allow to dry before adding to baking. This will give you little flecks of purple lavender throughout your dish.
Cooking with Lavender powder (ground Lavender)
When the flowers have gone over, and the dainty bell flowers have dried, you can harvest these for making into a lavender powder. This is great for adding to baking and buttercreams and icing for a hint of colour and the full lavender fragrance experience (only a small amount of powder is needed). To prepare ground lavender simply wash the dried flowers thoroughly and tip onto kitchen towels to dry completely. Once bone dry add to a blender and blitz until you have a fine powder.
For more information on preparing lavender leaves and storing your lavender check out my English Lavender Shortbread recipe. Incidentally, I also have a traditional French Madeleine recipe on the website
Can I make English Lavender Madeleines dairy free?
Yes you can make this shortbread dairy free quite simply by adding a dairy free margarine or ‘butter’ alternative. I tend to use Pure in my baking in the UK but Flora and Vitalite work equally as well. The only issue with a dairy free madeleine is that you can’t cook the butter to brush the madeleine tin and get that authentic ‘nutty’ butter taste and golden colour.
Can I make English Lavender Madeleines vegan?
I’ll be honest and say that I’ve not yet tried (no more Madeleines for me!) but if you comment below stating you’d like me to develop an egg free/vegan version then I am happy to set to work on it.
Different ways to decorate English Lavender Madeleines
In this version of my Madeleine recipe I have simply dusted each Madeleine with icing sugar. Other ideas to decorate are;
- Dipping ½ the Madeleine into white chocolate (or dairy free alternative)
- Icing the tops and decorating with fresh lavender flowers
- Dipping ½ the Madeleine into lavender infused icing and dusting with ground lavender
Other recipes that use English Lavender
There are a few lavender bakes out there on the world wide web, this Blackberry Lavender Cake looks lovely but you’d need to switch the all purpose flour to gluten free plain flour and this is definitely not a dairy free cake!
How about a these Lavender Lemon Bars. Again, a switch would be necessary to make them gluten free and these are not possible to make egg free however these are dairy free too.
Lastly how about my English Lavender Shortbread recipe mentioned above, the perfect teatime treat or to go with a cuppa with friends.
English Lavender Madeleines Recipe
- 50 g gluten free self-raising flour
- 50 g caster sugar
- 50 g melted dairy free spread or butter
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp lavender flowers
- 10 g dairy free spread
- Pinch of ground lavender [see notes]
- Heat up the dairy free spread in a small saucepan with a generous pinch of ground lavender until it bubbles.
- Set aside to cool.
- (if you want a real authentic nutty taste you melt a knob of butter in a pan until it just starts to change colour to a golden brown, however this is pretty much impossible to achieve using a dairy free spread)
- Melt the 50g butter or butter alternative and set aside to cool a little
- Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a bowl until frothy and light.
- Add your cooled butter and whisk again until thoroughly incorporated
- Add the flour and lavender powder and lightly fold in with the whisk
- Leave the mixture for 1.5hrs at room temperature with a tea towel to cover … be patient!
- Brush the Madeleine tin liberally with the cooled melted lavender infused ‘butter’ dust tray with flour and tap off excess.
- If after 1.5hrs your Madeleine batter has thickened to more than a dropping consistency, then add a splash of water or dairy free milk to loosen [see notes]
- Fill the Madeleine tin to the top of each mould.
Set your oven to 180°C | 160°C fan | 350°F | Gas 4
- Bake for 10mins and enjoy the wonderful smells that omit from your oven!
- Remove from oven once Madeleines are peaked like little mountains and gently tap out of tin onto a cooling rack.
- Enjoy still warm or cooled.
To prepare ground lavender simply wash the dried flowers thoroughly and tip onto kitchen towels to dry completely. Once bone dry add to a blender and blitz until you have a fine powder.
Gluten free flour thickens more than normal flour due to the different grains used. For example, a flour using a rice flour blend will swell as you’d expect when you boil rice.
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And one last thing! I’ve linked my English Lavender Madeleines with these other awesome Foodies websites, go check them out
disclaimer: I’ve started using affiliate codes on my website again (needs must). If you click on any of the links in the post and make a purchase my family will benefit from a small % of that purchase at no extra cost to you.