Every time I sit down to write my first few posts of the year, I can’t help but think about the year that was. I guess that’s normal, considering I’m fairly sentimental, but I’m pretty sure by now you’re all tired of hearing about how quickly 2015 went by. And even though that’s applicable to me to some extent, it feels more appropriate right now to talk about how thankful I am for 2015 regardless of how long or how short it felt.
I feel like 2015 is the year I truly began to understand my purpose for becoming a blogger. I’ve been doing this a couple of years now, but during the latter half of 2015 was the first time I felt this real sense of… Direction? Accomplishment? It’s that feeling like I’m actually finally getting “somewhere”, to put it loosely.
I’m not talking about recognition and awards, though all that was obviously a pleasant surprise– I’m talking about feeling like I’m actually improving as a person because I embarked on this journey. This whole blogging thing is a continuous learning and developmental process, and some of the improvements you guys actually witness on the page itself, but most of it is happening behind the scenes. As an introvert for nearly all my life, the fact that I’m becoming bolder both in and outside the kitchen is something that I feel very proud of. Apart from that, I’ve been lucky to occasionally get to work on projects that really get my creative juices flowing. I live for those moments. 😛
Oh, and let’s not forget the new knowledge that I’m learning everyday. I mean, were it not for this whole food blogging venture, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing fancy French words like beurre noisette. Loosely translated, it’s browned butter– a special component that gives simple treats such as this Chocolate Financier a distinctive nutty flavour!
The financier is a French cake that’s similar to a sponge cake in texture, typically made using ground almonds which helps to give it a nutty sweetness. You might be wondering about the name of the cake, and they say that it’s named so because it’s traditionally made in moulds that resemble gold bars. Well I happen to think my mould is cuter (and I really just don’t have the rectangular moulds!) but really you can use a regular cupcake tin for this.
The most interesting part about this recipe for me is the browning of the butter, which can be a rather long process if your pan isn’t hot enough. The butter sputters everywhere too as it heats up more and more, so I think it’s best if you really heat your pan through before adding in your butter so it’ll brown more quickly. More details on the procedure in the recipe below. The smell of browned butter is just as amazing as the flavour it releases!
Instead of making a classic financier, I decided to make it in my favourite flavour. Fabulously moist and chocolatey with a hint of nuttiness from the brown butter, these financier taste mostly of deep chocolate, but it does take some light sweetness from the ground almonds. Definitely a keeper of a financier recipe I think; with or without that chocolate dipped bottom.
These Chocolate Financier pair really well with coffee, I think. How do you take your coffee, by the way? I take mine in a multitude of ways, as long as the coffee flavour is much stronger than the rest of the mix-in’s. When the brew is good, I drink just the black coffee without anything else added. Other times I like to try out instant coffee mixes from other countries, which is why I was excited to be introduced to this unfamiliar Indonesian brand called Luwak White Koffie.
Luwak White Koffie aims to stand above the rest of its “white coffee” counterparts by offering a more authentic take. I’ve tried other local white coffees and they add too much cream in there that they no longer taste like coffee at all, so I always buy the imported ones since they offer that same creamy consistency but with a much stronger authentic coffee flavour.
This Luwak White Koffie is a little sweet, but it has that pleasant earthy aroma and taste that I always look for in my coffee. It has a nice coffee to cream-and-sugar ratio, which is more than I can say about those other brands that seem to think that white coffee is a warm cup of milk with just a hint of coffee. I think people looking for a more authentic take on white coffee should give this a go. It’s a perfect accompaniment for pastries for sure!
Chocolate and coffee? They don’t just go well together, they go well with days when you just want to sit down with a friend and talk about where you want to take your life. Heck, they’re good for when you just want a quiet moment alone to reflect!
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp almond meal
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 4 large egg whites, lightly beaten until foamy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and spray a 12-cup mini muffin pan with nonstick spray. (I used a special patterned cupcake mould.)
- 2. To brown the butter, cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring or swirling the butter in the pan constantly until it clarifies and turns a deep brown colour with a very nutty scent. The butter will spit and spatter as it goes so be careful. This process will take over 5 minutes. (Alternatively, I watched Curtis Stone on TV heat a pan until very very hot, then he added in the butter and let it sizzle, swirling the butter in the pan constantly until it browned. His process went by much much faster.) Pour browned butter into a glass cup or bowl and allow to cool slightly.
- 3. In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, and powdered sugar until fully incorporated.
- 4. Beat in the foamy egg whites, then add brown butter, and vanilla. Mix for about 30 seconds until well-combined and smooth.
- 5. Fill each cavity of the muffin tin about 2/3 full. Bake for 12 minutes, until firm in the center. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- 6. Once the financiers are cool, melt chopped chocolate in the microwave or over a double broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip each financier halfway into in the chocolate then place on the lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set chocolate. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.
I also want to have a more international flair when it comes to the recipes I choose to write about. I’m working on some visual improvements on certain parts of the blog right now, and hopefully I can roll all of these things out really soon. You know what, I think I’ll post a breakfast recipe video in the coming week or so! In the meantime, please enjoy these Chocolate Financier! 🙂