Letter C. for Cannelés and Chocolate — La lettre C. pour des cannelés et du chocolat

chocolate canelé cannelé

Chocolate, Ginger and Cardamom Cannelés

There are foods that remind us of places and people. This is at least how it works for me. Whenever I think about cannelés, I cannot help but have my head filled with images of my times spent in New Zealand, when I lived there. Amongst the few houses where I lived in Wellington — at least ten — there was this special one in Thorndon where I spent one amazing year in the company of two people who became best friends. It is actually funny to remember how it all happened. I was teaching French at the Alliance française where I met S., one of my students. S. was most probably the shortest of the class, but also the most talkative and liveliest of my students. The laziest one too. I think that if she could have paid someone to inject in her a special formula so that she speaks fluently French, she would have done it. “Ca n’arrive pas par l’opération du Saint Esprit”, I used to tell her (It does not happen thanks to the Holy Spirit) but it did not matter. I loved to have her in class. She loved to talk: in class, outside class, making everyone laugh at the tricks she loved to play. One day, as she knew that I was about to leave my apartment and had not much of an idea as to where I was going to live next, she invited me out for a drink. “To talk”, she added. She got to the point quickly and suggested that I come and live with her and her soon-to-be husband. “Pardon ?” I replied. “Are you sure K. will be OK with this? I mean, did you ask him?” “No I didn’t,” she answered back “but this is not a problem, I know he will not mind”, she added. I guess if she thought so. So here I was, moving in to live with a lively kiwi girl and her quieter English boyfriend in a big Victorian house, typical of Wellington. And we had fun! Part of the fun of living together was actually spending hours talking and drinking tea in the kitchen, making plans about life, or thinking and talking about food. I was often begged to prepare crème brûlée since S. had a strong weakness for them. A real strong one! She could eat so many in one go that I was literally fascinated by it! “Comment tu fais ?”, I asked her often (how do you do it?) Until the day when for the first time, she and I discovered cannelés , bought at the Bordeaux bakery downtown. From then on, cannelés became our favorite sweet treat weakness.

When I decided to prepare cannelés yesterday, I of course thought about S. It is odd in this way, but S. will always be on my mind whenever I bake cannelés. C’est comme cela. I chose to change the traditional flavors however, and instead of the vanilla typically used, I flavored them with cardamom , ginger and chocolate. They turned even browner of course.

chocolate canelé cannelé

chocolate canelé cannelé

Les cannelés

What do you need to know about cannelés? Funky shape? Never heard about them? Did you ever eat one before?

There are a few things to know. Cannelés are a delicate sweet treat from the South-West French city of Bordeaux. A cannelé batter resembles a lot a crêpe batter: vanilla-flavored milk is mixed with eggs, flour, sugar and a little bit of butter. Cannelés are baked in cone-shaped copper molds* and are traditionally flavored with vanilla and rum. Because they are baked in a hot oven, they develop a crunchy dark caramelized crust on the outside, keeping in contrast a moist, soft and delicate texture inside. To achieve the best results, it is really advised to let the cannelé batter rest for a minimum of a night before baking them. It is a fact that copper molds are more expensive than silicone ones, but I personally think that they are really worth the investment, having tried both. I also tend to believe these sweet small cakes are better eaten at least a few hours after they are freshly baked from the oven, although this is surely only a question of taste.

I usually can resist many foods, even when they are very tempting and I am terribly tempted, but I cannot resist a cannelé. They are the ideal sweet snack size, enough to give you a sweet flavor without being overwhelming. After one, you always think of maybe having a second. They are perfect at breakfast, after lunch or as a snack during the day. One, two, three, how many could you eat? With S., they were good twenty hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year. Tout le temps ! She always found good excuses to stop by the Bordeaux bakery on her way back home. I really ate many cannelés while living in Wellington.


My friend S.

Although I would never have been able to beat her. S. really loves cannelés, even more than crème brûlée , and that is saying a lot.

* You can buy the cannelé molds on Amazon.

chocolate canelé cannelé

Chocolate, Ginger and Cardamom Cannelés

(For 12 cannelés)

You need:

  • 2 + 1/8 cups whole milk
  • 4.5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 7 oz fine cane sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 oz melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp rum


  • Heat the milk with the cardamom pods and ginger. When it comes to a boil, cover and stop. Let infuse for 15 to 20 mns.
  • In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and cocoa.
  • Add the egg yolks and mix well.
  • Filter the milk and add it to the dry ingredients. Make sure the batter is homogeneous. Add the rum and butter, and mix well.
    Let rest overnight in the fridge.
  • The following day, preheat your oven at 420 F.
  • Take the batter and mix it again. Pour 3/4 full in the greased cannelé molds. Cook for 50 mms to 1 hour, depending on how quickly they get brown. Remove from the oven and wait for a few mins before unmolding them. Let them cool on a rack.

Note: I find that they are nicer to eat a few hours after they are made, or even the following day. Question of taste. They keep well for a few days.

Le coin français
Cannelés au chocolat, gingembre et cardamome

(Pour 12 cannelés)

Ingrédients :

  • 500 ml de lait entier
  • 125 g de farine
  • 1 morceau de 2 cm de racine de gingembre, pelé et coupé en rondelles
  • 6 capsules de cardamome, pilées
  • 200 g de sucre fin
  • 3 càs de cacao non sucré
  • 5 jaunes d’oeuf
  • 1 càs de rhum
  • 60 g de beurre fondu

Étapes :

  • Faites chauffer le lait avec les capsules de cardamome et le gingembre. Quand il atteint ébullition, arrêtez le feu, couvrez et laissez infuser pendant 15 à 20 mns. Filtrez-le.
  • Dans une jatte, mélangez la farine, le sucre et le cacao en poudre.
  • Ajoutez les jaunes d’oeuf et mélangez bien.
  • Ajoutez le lait chaud à la préparation précédente en petit filet, et mélangez bien avec le rhum et le beurre. Couvrez et laissez reposer cette pâte au frigidaire toute la nuit.
  • Le lendemain, préchauffez votre four à 210 C.
  • Mélangez votre pâte et remplissez des moules à cannelé beurrés au 3/4. Cuisez au four pendant 50 mms à 1 heure. Surveillez. Sortez du four et laissez refroidir quelques minutes avant de démouler sur une grille. Laissez refroidir.

Remarque : je trouve personnellement que les cannelés sont meilleurs dégustés quelques heures après la cuisson, voir un jour après. Affaire de goût. Ils gardent très bien quelques jours.

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Posted in Cakes, Chocolate, Dessert, French Inspired


  1. I had my first in Bordeaux several years ago and my second in Paris this last time we were their. They were both excellent but something about yours looks even better. Can’t say what but just better. I’d agree with S just pour the French language into me! What a great way to remember such a good friend and good times. Food does connect us.

  2. what a beautiful story. i can only hope i have the opportunity to travel as you have. gee i wish i knew french. there are so many amazing blogs out there ONLY in french. thank you for translating.

    these looks delicious. i’ve never had one but don’t think i’ll wait long for that! chocolate is a definite weakness — as i think the saying goes for the majority of females.

  3. un seul petit regret quand même : ils ne contiennent que du cacao et pas de chocolat : je vais pê remédier à ça ;-))

  4. Hey! I love this new doodad trick that I noticed on my newsreader…click on the comment and voila! I am here!

    Bea that is utterly to go mad for, but I’m also loving your baking tins!

  5. Ils sont beaauuuuu! Et ils ont l’air boooonn! Tu me fait toujours baver sur mon clavier…

  6. Bea, I totally in love with canneles after you photos and you explaint what they’re… so moist, so delicate, so sweet!

  7. cette photo de cannelé coupé en deux va me hanter cet après midi! j’aime tant leur crôute caramélisée et je n’ai en plus jamais testé au chocolat

  8. Bea,

    Being a cinnamon lover I’ll have to tag this recipe – immediately. 😀

    I used to be a teacher too and I’m still in touch with some of my students, some of them even went to my wedding. Fantastic.

  9. Hi Bea, I just want to say that your blog is beautiful and that the way you write exudes so much warmth to your readers.Thank you for sharing .

  10. It’s exciting being in the know about canneles. Very few people have heard of them, yet they are so good! It surprises me that these little treasures have kept themselves hidden from even the most dedicated of foodies.

    And yes, they are impossible to resist. I remember standing in my cousin’s kitchen last year, chatting and munching on some canneles she had just baked. Before we knew it we had plowed through the whole batch!

    It is a crime that I haven’t bought myself some molds yet.

  11. You have so many fun kitchen toys! This was a wonderful story, I definitely want to give these a try!

  12. bonjour bea,cela fait plusieurs semaines que je pense timidement et secretement ouvrir un blog de cuisine mais quand j’ai decouvert votre site today ,l’idee m’ait parrrut un peu stupide.tu as des recettes et des photos a tomber par terre et ne plus se relever.il est clair que ma cuisine n’a rien avoir avec la tienne.(bon elle est comme meme bonne)et je voulais savoir est ce que t’as ete a une ecole ou are you self educated.est ce tes propres recettes de ta propre inventions ou empruntees d’ailleurs.j’aurai aime juste avoir des conseils sur comment ouvrir un blog culinaire,merci d’avance et tres bonne continuation .

  13. Ils me font rêver… ce n’est rien de le dire ! mais je vais attendre avant de lire précisément la recette que j’ai réussi à décider Ma traductrice perso de travailler sur le texte… que veux-tu tes mots me manquent trop pour savourer vraiment ta recette alors j’ai décidé de ne pas m’en passer ! en plus comme tu dis un jour de plus et ils n’en seront que meilleurs !!!

  14. Hi Bea- I also have such a sentimental relationship to canele with my brother. He has actually sent them Fed Ex to me from a great SF bakery. While I have read about the process of making/baking them and the ingredients seemed simple enough. I thought the actual resting of the batter and baking to get the crust was very particular- yours look incroyable.

  15. J’adore les cannele et je suis bien tentee par cette version, tres creative. J’en mangerai des quantites incroyable, comme S.

  16. Canneles, canneles…when will i ever get to try you! Sigh…these are a sweet treat that I have been dying to try since I heard of them! Yours look lovely…and the flavor combination sounds so tempting 🙂

  17. Tanna, oh you are too sweet. Maybe it is my story that makes them look better 😉 Anyway, I take the compliment!

    Linda, thank you. I wish that you can travel for sure. The best education!

    Adele, merci.

    Peggy, moi non plus je n’y avais jamais goute avant! Ca change de la vanille, surtout quand comme moi, on adore le chocolat.

    Kat, I wish you could.

    Lorette, ahh, je t’assure, avec du bon cacao, c’est tres bon!

    Bergeou, ah oui je dois aller voir!

    Rowena, fun indeed! Yes cool molds, eh

    Gracianne, oui tu le dis tres bien, merci!

    Gattina, thank you. Glad you had a crush on them. Canneles deserve love! 😉

    Alhya, ahah, j’espere que tu ne m’en voudras pas, je ne veux pas te donner des cauchemars.

    Patricia, no cinnamon, by the way 😉 Canneles is just the name of the pastry.

    Carol, thank you very much for your nice note. Very nice indeed!

    Jeff, no, absolutely not! Just as they are! 🙂

    Caroline, oh I hope you resolve that issue not to own molds soon, especially as you seem to be a big fan too.

    Brilynn, , yes kitchen toys! Love them!

    Rose, oh non, il ne faut surtout pas renoncer a ton idee. L’essentiel c’est de se faire plaisir. Je suis simplement self-educated. Quand les recettes ne sont pas de moi, j’indique la source, c;est disons voir 70 % mes recettes, 30 % des recettes de livres etc. Bonne chance!

    Dianka, glad you have it now. The real canneles use vanilla beans instead of the cocoa.

    Dorian, ah on vient de me dire oui, que tu as un crush sur les canneles! 😉 j’espere que tu les aimeras.

    James, thanks.

    Peabody, no I did not hear about this. Are you saying you use beeswax for the molds?

    Callipygia, oh you have a very nice brother, for him to do this! Beautiful!

    Helen, gourmande alors 😉

    Joey, hope you get to try them soon. They are really that special!

  18. Great post Bea. I’d heard about Cannelés but hadn’t tried them. Unable to find the moulds in NZ a blogger in Paris kindly sent me a set. My first attempt was not perfect in appearance but OMG the taste was sensational.

  19. I have never heard of cannelés.. but they look so adorable! How on earth did you manage to get them out of those molds so perfectly? I bet that I’d break half of them trying to get it out. 😉

  20. They look wonderful! I recall seeing these on Clotilde’s blog and salivating over them then as well – unfortunately, I’ve looked for those moulds here but could not find any 🙁

  21. Yes, a beautifully written article. I think that the combination of ginger, chocolate and cardomom is inspired! They look like mini works of edible art!

  22. Hi, Just want to tell you that you make me crazy with the blog and the picture. Love it! Why don’t you make a CD version of this blog? I don’t have a nice internet access everyday, will be nice if I can see the pictures again..and again..and again…Luluk

  23. Bea,

    Shame on me. I read the recipe but “cinnamon” stuck to my head. Do you know why???
    Because “cinnamon”, in my native language, is “canela” – the pronunciation is very, very similar to “cannele”. lol

  24. Same problem with molds here…would it be a sacrilege trying the recipe with mini-custard molds for example??

  25. Barbara, this is sweet! I am that you are now well-equipped.

    Ilingc, practice 😉

    Peabody, oh yes thanks. It makes sense. I actually have some home.

    Ellie. that is bummer you cannot find the molds

    Freya, thanks a lot

    Luluk, thank you!

    Patricia, not a problem 😉 It was funny. In French, cinnamon is cannelle too 😉

    Sil b a. Well I am sure it would be fine, try and let me know!

    Connie, oh I am glad I initiated you to them!

    Andreea, thank you!

  26. Magnifiques ! Je n’avais jamais vu de cannelés version chocolat ! Très original ! Tes photos sont somptueuses !!!

  27. I made these last night, but couldn’t wait the whole night, so I baked about ten of them. I think you’re right, though, that the batter needs to rest, like madeleines.
    I kept the recipe simple, and used only 2 egg yolks and 1 entire egg. No spices, besides vanilla. And, because we don’t like rum, we used Frangelico instead. It turned out really well, for a first effort. But I’ll try your recipe next.
    But yeah, I love the caramelisation. Even though, for shame, I used a silicone mould.

  28. Annabel, merci.

    Michel, oh yes, I get we learn from experience. I have had a similar experience, but now have mastered patience 😉 Glad you liked them.

  29. what size cannele molds did you use to make the 12. i would like to try these but don’t know what size cannele molds to buy. please email me if you could. thanks.

  30. En anglais que-ce-que c’est? “3 càs “? Teaspoons? tablespoons? carres?
    Combine de cacao non sucre est “3 cas” en grammes?


  31. Whoops, I found your recipe above in english….so, “càs” means tablespoon?

  32. Pingback: Canneles de Bordeaux (Secret Recipe) « Maison Celeste

  33. Hi Bea,
    I just baked them, but I did not have rum so I skipped it. I am not happy with them anyway- the skin it tough and hard, and the middle underbaked. What went wrong? Thank you.E.

  34. Pingback: Canele de Bordeaux - קנאלה דה בורדו > מתכון > בצק אלים

  35. What can I substitute cardamon with since my husband does not like it??

  36. I just did them and they came out great. Just the right flavor. Thanks for a wonderful recipe with lots of style and good taste (: