For the past week I’ve had this weird schedule which involved eating breakfasts in a dorm dining hall at 8AM, getting in a workout and a shower once I was awake enough to function, and finally getting a good cup of coffee at around 2PM when I could make my way to a cafe looking like a put-together human being. I apparently decided that since I never had to live in a dorm during college, I needed to live with my sister for a week and have that experience before I got way too old for it. ← Sarcasm: my way of dealing with life.
So all of this somehow fits into the subject of chocolate financiers because yesterday as I was editing photos of these here beauties… ↓
I happened to notice that the cafe I was sitting in actually sells them, which I find kinda cool because most people don’t even seem to know what financiers are. (If this isn’t actually cool in anyone else’s eyes, I’m either way too interested in food or this current lifestyle is getting to me and I need to return to a normal-person routine. Either way, thanks for putting up with me; you guys are the best. :D ) Anyway, I’m thinking that cafe was obviously trying to send me a message to get my butt in gear and finally share these little chocolate teacakes on the blog, so I’m listening.
Needless to say, if you’re not in the loop on financiers yet, you’re totally missing out and it’s time to change that. Financiers are mini French almond cakes made with egg whites and brown butter, which gives them this really unique texture – slightly crisp on the outside but moist and tender on the inside – and a rich, nutty flavor that holds its own in such a small little package. They’re pretty much awesome no matter how you make them, and the variations are endless (these apricot ones are amazing as well!), but as always the chocolate variation is one of my favorites. They turn out like a cross between a brownie and a cake, dense but soft and super-chocolatey but not too sweet, and because they’re naturally gluten-free (and made with egg whites and stuff!) I’ll occasionally call them breakfast and not feel too guilty about it. They also happen to be really easy to make, so I’m essentially leaving you with no excuse NOT to try these out and become a financier aficionado. I feel like you’ll definitely want to thank me later. ;)
Moist and tender, brownie-like, mini chocolate tea cakes - a classic french treat that's naturally gluten-free.
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 2 ounces (1/3 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) almond meal*
- 5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 ounces (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 egg whites
- confectioner's sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425ºF and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
- Place butter in a small skillet set over medium-low to medium heat. Cook until the butter melts, foams up, and turns golden-brown, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and cool briefly.
- Add chocolate chips to browned butter to submerge and let sit for a few minutes. Whisk until smooth, and then whisk in vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment, pulse almond meal, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt together until evenly combined. Transfer to a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add to dry ingredients and fold in until partially incorporated. Add chocolate mixture and fold in until completely incorporated and even in texture.
- Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the financiers comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
- Cool briefly in pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. If desired, dust with powdered sugar before serving.
*I used store-bought almond meal, but if you decide to grind your own, I'd suggest sifting it before measuring to make sure it's nice and fine. This will give the financiers a better texture.