Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hazelnut Brown Butter Financiers

Is it clear by now how much I love hazelnuts and brown butter?  It will be soon enough if it's not already.  See, I thought that I didn't like nuts, especially nuts in any sort of baked good. But I recently discovered that I love the flavor, I just hate the texture.  So no nuts in brownies or cookies or cakes or anything like that unless they're ground up (or just scattered on top for decoration maybe); if they're ground up, I can't get enough apparently!  So I'm really just making up for those 30 nut-free years.

Financiers should be made in a financier pan - they look like tiny little loaf-shaped cakes.  But I don't have a financier pan, so I used my mini-muffin pan instead.  They're sort of like a Madeleine in that they're a cross between cookies and cake. I liked these, and the rest of my department seemed to really enjoy them too, so I'll definitely make them again.  But I think I may play around a little more - maybe add one whole raspberry to the middle of each one or some sort of chocolate...  and the brown-butter glaze with fleur de sel is delicious! 

For the Financiers  (Adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes)

Makes 28 mini-muffin-shaped financiers, or 16 actual financiers (3" x 1" x 1 1/4").

3/4 cup toasted and ground hazelnuts
10 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 egg whites, room temperature
3 tablespoons hazelnut praline  (you can use store-bought or make your own)

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Spray a financier pan or a mini-muffin pan with baking spray.

Brown the butter:  heat the butter over low heat until melted.  Continue cooking until the butter is a deep brown.  Immediately pour the butter through a strainer into a glass liquid measure.

Run the hazelnuts, powdered sugar, and flour through the food processor for a few pulses.

Beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy (with the whisk attachment if you're using a stand mixer).  Add the flour/nut mixture on low just until incorporated.  Scrape the bowl occasionally.  Slowly add the browned butter, a couple of teaspoons or so at a time; wait until it's fully incorporated before adding more.  This should take about 5 minutes.  Finally, mix in the praline, and beat for a few more seconds.

Pour the batter into the financier or mini-muffin molds; each one should be about 2/3 full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until they spring back when gently touched.

My financiers developed little humps, again kinda like a Madeleine cookie.

Naked Financier

For the Glaze

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk or cream
fleur de sel (optional)

Brown the butter, and set aside to cool.  While it's cooling, measure out the powdered sugar.  Stir in 3 tablespoons milk or cream until smooth.  Stir in the browned butter.  Add more milk or cream if the glaze is too thick. 


Spoon the glaze over the financiers.  Sprinkle with fleur de sel or your favorite coarse salt.  Enjoy! 

These are best on the day they are made, but still pretty yummy the next day.  They might start to dry out after that, but I doubt you'll have any left!


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