Hazelnut financiers

Oh, I love financiers!  I've sang their praises before and I'm here to do it again.  It's pretty startling to me how something so plain looking could taste so surprisingly delicious!
Their deliciousness has a lot to do with browned butter. I say that as a person who does not automatically swoon at the sound of those words.  All I know is that the browned butter really works and packs a ton of flavor here.  In financiers, it creates the most delicious flavor, a nuttiness that's accentuated by a generous amount of ground nuts.  In this case, I used hazelnuts instead of almonds.

Even though I am in no way any sort of professional blogger, I still like to try new things so I have something to post and write about here (not to mention, have something new to taste and discover).  That said, I do frequently make our family favorites - most of which are recipes I've discovered thanks to starting this blog.  Since I made financiers the first time last September, it's been one of my favorite ways to take adventure of extra egg whites (from, say, making ice cream).  And I love this recipe from Dorie Greenspan where you essentially stir the batter together over the stove-top.  It just requires a little patience or advance planning since the batter needs to chill for at least an hour.  I usually put it together in the evening to bake the following morning so that we can enjoy fresh baked financiers for breakfast.  They are golden, crisp (the edges are so crisp!), and just scrumptious freshly cooled from the oven!
So in the interest of posting something "new", I thought I'd revisit financiers and make a hazelnut version.  I love hazelnuts and baking with nuts in general (my son seems to take no offense to the presence of nuts when they are ground up).  Financiers usually come in a variety of flavors - from almonds, hazelnuts to pistachio, chestnut and chocolate - so there are plenty of variations to try.  I was really tempted to try pistachio (for some reason, I'm always drawn to that flavor when I buy treats) but I had hazelnuts on hand and it never disappoints me.  And considering how the French call browned butter, beurre noisette, or "hazelnut butter", hazelnuts are a natural partner.

I also thought I'd make mini financiers this time.  We all love things, particularly desserts, in miniature, don't we?  I baked the little guys in a mini muffin tin.  They are done in about 10 minutes when they puff up, spring back lightly to the touch, and the sides are golden.  Let the little cakes cool to room temperature and enjoy them - those golden corners are crunchy against the moist and very flavorful center.
I added a dab of Nutella to a few of my mini hazelnut financiers.  They're actually better without it since the Nutella flavor is strong and, believe me, you want to enjoy the full flavor of the financiers themselves.  I do love stuffing the regular almond financiers with chestnut cream.  I think that works really well because the sweet nuttiness of chestnut cream is milder.  


* For some step-by-step pictures and details on browning the butter and putting the batter together, please take a look at this post. *

The only things I've changed is to start with hazelnuts instead of almonds.  I ground half a cup to make a small batch (half the original recipe) of mini financiers.  Using a mini muffin tin, this recipe made 13 financiers - a baker's dozen!
The batter, which is a blend of egg whites, browned butter, ground hazelnuts, sugar, and flour, is quite thick.  I try to remove the batter from the fridge and let it sit for a while at room temperature so that it's not too cold going into the oven but it's not as much of an issue with these mini sized cakes since they bake up very quickly.
My family and I all preferred these hazelnut financiers without the Nutella filling but if you'd like to experiment (it doesn't have to be Nutella; you could try jam, for example), first fill the cups about 2/3 to 3/4 way up using 2 spoons before adding a small dollop, no more than half a teaspoon, of filling.  My favorite filling of choice is chestnut cream (hard to find here but I still have a small stash from Paris), and just like with the Nutella, I add cold filling into the batter.  In my mind, that helps prevent the filling from sinking during baking.  Then just add a bit more batter over the filling, enough to cover it.  You can fill the cups practically to the top of the pan.
Baking time can be a teeny bit tricky.  I find that with the larger financiers that I bake in regular-size muffin cups, the centers tend to be a tad wet (maybe because the batter is too cold).  Though I have to say that's not really a problem since it's just delicious.  With the minis, they cook more thoroughly so I'd be more focused on not over-baking them.  I would recommend keeping an eye on them in the last couple of minutes and pulling the pan out when the cakes are puffed and no longer wet on top, with golden sides - about 10 minutes for the mini size.  The ones with the Nutella stuffing don't rise as tall as much as the ones without.  It's the magic of eggs (in this case, egg whites) in action again.
This is one thing I'm really happy I can make at home and I plan to try some other flavors in the future!


Recipe:

Hazelnut Financiers
Adapted from Paris Sweets (also see previous post)

- Makes 13 mini financiers, baked in a mini muffin tin -

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts* 
3 large egg whites
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

* I buy and use toasted, skinned hazelnuts that I finely chop in a small processor.  You can also buy hazelnut flour.

Brown the butter: Place butter into a small skillet.  Cook over medium heat and bring it to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally.  It will sputter and sizzle as it cooks.  Continue cooking until butter turns a deep brown.  Watch closely since it can turn black in a matter of seconds.  Remove pan from the heat and keep it in a warm spot nearby.

Using a wooden spoon, mix sugar and ground hazelnuts together in a large saucepan.  Stir in the egg whites and place the pan over low heat.  Stirring constantly, warm the mixture until it turns runny, slightly white in color, and feels hot to the touch, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in flour.  Then gradually stir in the browned butter until incorporated. 

Transfer the batter into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface.  Chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Butter and flour (I find baking spray also works well) 13 cups of a mini muffin tin.  Using two spoons, fill each cup almost all the way to the top with batter.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until financiers are golden and the tops are no longer wet, have domed, and feels springy to the touch.

Turn the financiers out (using a blunt knife if necessary) to cool on a cooling rack.  They are best eaten the day they are baked.  I actually recommend making these fresh right before you plan to eat.  Just cooled to room temperature, the corners are especially crisp.

Optional filling:  If you would like to add a filling to these financiers, first fill the mini muffin cups about 2/3 to 3/4 way up.  Add a small dollop of filling (such as Nutella spread or jam), no more than half a teaspoon, before covering the filling with additional batter. 






26 comments:

  1. Hazelnut financier with nutella filling...how could one ever resist these beauties!

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    1. I adore them, Angie! Hope you're having a good weekend!

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  2. Oh, browned butter makes everything better! I love the idea of a Nutella filling, too - YUM! Pinning these to try. Have a great weekend, Monica! :)

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    1. I need to get better educated on browned butter, Marie! I just know that it creates some serious amazing-ness in financiers!

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  3. Hi Monica,

    Looking good girl..

    Arlene
    Kitchenapronspantry.blogspot.com

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    1. Arlene!!! I'm sooo glad to hear from you! And so happy to be checking out your blog from now on. Thanks for stopping by and stay in touch, girl! : )

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  4. These look incredible Monica! Your financiers came out so pretty and elegant. I would be tempted to eat the whole batch - especially the cream filled ones. Love the sound of using ground hazelnuts instead of the usual ground almonds. Can't wait to see what other flavors you try out next:)

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    1. Thanks so much, Kelly! It's good to make minis because there's a little bit more chance of self control. These innocent looking little "muffins" have so much flavor. Hope you make a batch soon. : )

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  5. WOW, these are too darn cute and I just want to pop all 13 of them in my belly! :) Love the idea of Nutella in here. Will be putting this on my to-bake list. Pinning! Hope you're enjoying your weekend Monica!

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    1. The mini's definitely have the cuteness factor going for them, I agree...they also slow down my consumption of them just a bit so it's practical. : ) Have a great Sunday!

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  6. confession time: i have NEVER made a successful financier. like, ever. Evidently i just don't have whatever patience/skills/technique necessary to make them correctly. You, however, have just reminded me that i should give them another go. Brown butter, you say? Hazelnuts? I'm in. :) Yours look adorable: you have to love the way these look when they're all baked up.

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    1. Shannon - I'm assuming your definition of "successful" is probably way stricter than mine! : ) I really like this recipe from Dorie and love to make them when extra egg whites are in the house.

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  7. I love mini deserts, that way you eat less but at the same time enjoy the sweet.i have never made financiers but yours with Nutella sounds great and I am thinking to go for it

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    1. I agree, Balvinder...minis are cute and practical too!

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  8. These are so pretty. I love hazelnuts and financiers but never put the two together. Nicely done. :) Can't wait to try these.

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    1. Thank you, Amy! These are such good little tea cakes. No need for frosting or anything really (even the nutella, believe it or not).

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  9. These look fantastic! I love financiers!

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  10. OMG,
    These look incredibly delicious!

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    1. Hi Asmita - they really are very flavorful. I love them for breakfast for some reason and I usually prefer savory for breakfast...

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  11. These are too cute to not eat fifty ;)
    This is gorgeous and delicious!

    Cheers
    CCU

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    1. Love your chocolate-chip cookie pic and happy to see it here :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Monica, your finaciers look great, light and delicate...and I am totally in love with the hidden Nutella. I so with I could have one or two of this treat.
    Have a wonderful week my dear :)

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    1. Thank you, Juliana. Have a great week!

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  13. A good recipe to keep on hand for using egg whites. Awesome! :) I've never had a financier but they sound good.

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    1. I can always use egg whites to add to my egg sandwiches but I do love them for financiers.

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