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Canneles Pretenders

I can’t believe I have waited this long to make "canneles" (ka-ne-lays), just because I did not have the proper canneles molds. This specialty tea cake from the region of Bordeaux is one of my all time favorites but when I moved to the US, those little shiny molds where not part of the "must have" items I took with me. Literary folks, I moved here with 2 suitcases full but not much from the home country. My parents have been filling the gaps and fulfilled my nostalgic demands with every visit they make but very soon after my moving here the craving started to hit really bad.

To fix my sweet tooth, I started baking them in muffin tins and small ramequins but I always hesitated posting about them, fearing "canneles" traditionalists and purists woud give me the evil eye and roll their shoulder in disappointment. Well, that was until I read this post by Melissa at The Traveler’s Lunchbox. It made me realize that if something is good, does it really matter if the shape of the final product is different than the traditional? Isn’t respecting the ingredients and baking method the most important?

How to describe a "cannele"…hmmm…that’s kind of a tough one. Dark but not burnt on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The batter is like a thick crepe batter turning into a cake right before your very eyes while wrapping your senses in an intoxicating aroma of vanilla and rum. Do not wait to get the right molds to try these as the one you eat quickly becomes two and three and pretty much you forget they were supposed to make it to the neighbors' house (oops!). When the time came to make these the other day, I could not find my little blue notebook with all the recipes I had gathered before I left France and after looking at many recipes and variations for canneles, I finally settled on this one which gave me the most wonderful little morsels.

Canneles Pretenders:

Makes 12 muffin sized ones

750 milk (2 1/2 cups)
50 gr butter (1 1/2 oz)
3 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
300 gr granulated sugar (10 oz)
1 Tb vanilla extract
6 Tb rum
150 gr all purpose flour (5 1/4 oz)

In a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, add the butter cut into dices. Mix well and let cool to lukewarm.
In a bowl, mix the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla and whisk until foamy. Slowly add the rum and flour. Add the milk slowly and whisk until smooth. Pass it through a sieve if neessary.
Let the batter rest in the fridge for a ouple of hours or overnight. (I make mine the day before)
When the batter has rested, preheat the oven to 425F and divide it evenly among the muffin tins, generously coated with cooking spray or well buttered. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
If you can wait, you will find that they are better the next day.

Apologies to all "canneles" purists but what is a girl to do when the cravings strike and cannot wait?

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Mercedes June 18, 2007 um 2:20 am

Never fear posting your experiments, I am so glad to know that you can do this. I always hesitated because I didn’t have beeswax to grease the molds, but it looks like you don’t use that either? This is going on my to-make list!

Anonymous June 18, 2007 um 2:24 am

I have never had a canneles. They sound delicious!
Great job improvising. I’m so glad you posted this!

Anh June 18, 2007 um 2:30 am

I haven’t had canneles either. I don’t think i can find the proper mould, so your improvisation is great! Will love to try this out. 🙂

jin June 18, 2007 um 3:50 am

I put off making them for years as I too could not find the moulds.
When I finally made them in the muffin tins I couldn’t believe I had waited that long!
However, I only make them for my family & a few close friends who are familiar with canneles because I don’t think my customers would purchase them based on their looks. How sad! Once you take that first bite there is nothing that compares!

Great post! 🙂

Chantal33 June 18, 2007 um 8:47 am

Bonne idée d’adaptation de moules! tu sais que tu peux préparer la pâte à l’avance et la mettre au congèl, c’est super pratique, après tu n’as plus qu’à cuire!

Rosa's Yummy Yums June 18, 2007 um 10:51 am

They look great and delicious!
I’m very happy to see that you made your "cannelés" in normal cupcake pans. Now, I know that I can also make them without the appropriate pan…

Brilynn June 18, 2007 um 12:24 pm

I’ve never had them, but they’ve got rum in them so they’re definitely going on my 'to make' list!

Anonymous June 18, 2007 um 1:18 pm

You’ve given me so much hope! I’ve always wanted to try making these but I have no molds. This is definitely next on the list of recipes to try.

Patricia Scarpin June 18, 2007 um 2:28 pm

I know that if there’s someone who call put that kind of "experiment" that person is you, Helen – they look fabulous!
I want to try these soon.

Anonymous June 18, 2007 um 4:11 pm

Oh this is excellent Helene, as I’ve always wanted to make canneles but (like you) figured that it was a lost cause without the molds (which I’ve searched high and low for…)

I’ve already got this recipe bookmarked! Yay!

Cheryl June 18, 2007 um 4:24 pm

You always come up with things I have never heard of. I learn so much from your blog. These look delicious.

Anonymous June 18, 2007 um 5:55 pm

mmm, i love the dark exteriors, they look so moist!

i’ve never had this before but dare i say NO shape doesn not matter, to me these look wonderful and my interest is piqued now i have to put one of these in my mouth!!!

Anonymous June 18, 2007 um 8:16 pm

This is too amazing…first the ice cream recipe, now canneles! I lost my canneles recipe in my last move before I got to make them. Actually, I’ve never tried them but became intrigued when my ex boyfriend explained them and how to make them to me a while back. I’ve been on a search for the molds for some time and I’m very excited to know that muffin tins are met with the approval of a french pastry chef. Merci!

Kelly-Jane June 18, 2007 um 8:39 pm

I have wanted to give them a go as well, but have not managed to find the moulds either. Well done for getting there in the end 🙂

Anonymous June 18, 2007 um 9:11 pm

I haven´t tried canneles either, but they look delicious to me, so you won´t hear me complaining about the untraditional form or anything, I know, how forgiving of me! haha

Nora B. June 18, 2007 um 10:13 pm

Oh Helen, those look delicious…I will have to try making some soon. It gets to go straight up in my "to bake" list. Thank you!

Aimée June 19, 2007 um 2:14 am

These look delish! Like so many other people, I have never made canneles. I don’t even have a good excuse why not!
Kuddos to you.

Anonymous June 19, 2007 um 2:53 am

How much do I love these!!!

I’ve been afraid to try them as well because I don’t have the molds either but they’re so expensive! Especially if you want the copper ones. You’ve inspired me my sweet, Helene!

lululu June 19, 2007 um 2:57 am

I can totally see how soft it’s inside!!!!

What a brave experiment that turned into good outcome!!!

Cynthia June 19, 2007 um 3:12 am

Helen, my goodness this looks so good, look at how soft and moist it is!

I’ve never had canneles before but the recipe looks simple enough to try. I’ve bookmarked it.

I hope to get to your coffee cake sometime this week 😉

Inne June 19, 2007 um 8:55 am

Those look absolutely delicious, Helene! I’ve never had cannelés, and I have to admit they are on my list of 'too scary to ever try making myself' because of the beeswax thing. You make it sound like a doddle though, so I might have to dig out my muffin tin and try my hand at them.

Anonymous June 19, 2007 um 1:43 pm

I have LONGED to make these since seeing a post on the over at Chocolate & Zucchini a few years ago…and finally, I can! Thank you! 😀

Anita June 19, 2007 um 2:14 pm

I am not sure these should be called pretenders…I think they look just as fabulous as the original! I love your creativity and enthusiasm…and wow, wouldn’t I love to get a peek at your dessert notebooks!:)

Anonymous June 19, 2007 um 2:15 pm

I haven’t had a cannele, hadn’t even heard of one, so thank you for the recipe and the muffin tin adaptation. The best cooks are the ones who can make it happen with what’s on hand!

Rebuke June 19, 2007 um 2:51 pm

I hate things with rum in them and yet I’m drooling!

Lis June 19, 2007 um 4:12 pm

They look so soft and pillowy inside.. yum! I’ve never heard of these but they sound really good!

Way to go in improvising, sweetie!


Jen June 19, 2007 um 4:17 pm

This is such good news Helen. Like you, I have been putting off making canneles because I never had those incredibly expensive copper moulds that they tell you to bake them in. If had known that they come out just as good in muffin tins then I would have been making them already. I am looking foward to finally trying canneles out!

Anonymous June 20, 2007 um 12:17 am

These look soooo much better than the ones you buy in Bordeaux from that big maker..whatchamacallit..
And they look like they taste out of this world!

Peabody June 20, 2007 um 12:32 am

Good idea. I still can’t bring myself to spend $15 a mold..sigh. I just might have to do what you did.

MyKitchenInHalfCups June 20, 2007 um 2:34 am

Creativity and the invention of necessity! I simply love things that work.

Anonymous June 20, 2007 um 2:51 am

These look so moist and delicious. The molds are so cute but I’m glad to know you can bake them in a muffin pan. I will be making these soon!

Anonymous June 20, 2007 um 8:12 pm

These have been on my list forever. I have collected recipes, read scads about the romance (and pitfalls) of making them and eaten the most amazing ones from Mrs. London’s in Saratoga Springs, NY. I wasn’t going to make them without the molds either, but seeing that you did – I’ll give it a go! Do you think they’d work in a mini muffin pan?

Anonymous June 20, 2007 um 8:16 pm

"Qu’importe le flacon, c’est l’ivresse qui compte." disait je ne sais plus qui.
J’ai dernièrement fait la recette de madeleines dans des mini moules à kougelhof. C’était évidemment aussi très bon…qu’importe la forme.
Jamais fait de cannelés, faudra que j’essaie ta recette.
Bien à toi

Tamami from Coco&Me July 9, 2007 um 10:56 pm

I just discovered your blog, and I’m so glad I did!

I like that you’ve used a muffin tin to make canneles – I’ve been wanting to make these but never did because I didn’t have the right molds. But hey, your’s are refreshing & inspiring! I might try using muffin tins myself now!

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