Maple and cranberry financiers.
Maple and cranberry financiers. Photo by Limor Laniado Tiroche
Text size
related tags

Financier cookies are classic French pastries considered a fabulous delicacy. The cookie is soft and spongy, but still a bit dense with a crispy brown exterior. They're nut-free, but their delicate flavor is still akin to hazelnut.

These cookies owe their world renown to late-19th-century financiers who would line up outside a bakery near the Paris Bourse that specialized in them. The patissier, a man named Lasne, baked the cookies in small rectangular molds that resembled gold bullion bars.

Fine financier cookies are a blend of quality ingredients, the right mold and a little patience. Their preparation differs slightly from familiar cookie baking because of the way the butter is handled and the egg whites are folded into the flour mixture. Financier cookies have that special hazelnut flavor (noisette in French) because the butter is cooked and browned.

The process is simple: Heat the butter in a small pot until the milk solids separate from the butterfat. Once separated, the cooking continues over a low flame until the butter browns. At this stage the clarified butter is strained from the browned milk solids and cooled to room temperature.

The egg whites are beaten with a fork for three minutes until they take on a liquid and airy consistency. You don't have to whip them with a whisk or electric beater.

Unlike most cookie recipes, with financiers you pour the egg whites into the bowl of dry ingredients instead of the other way around. The latter contains equal parts flour and finely ground blanched almonds, which are important to sift to remove thick crumbs and leftover shells.

Chocolate & cherry financiers

Ingredients

(60-70 mini-financiers):

35 pitted cherries
150 grams chocolate
150 milliliters heavy cream
1 teaspoon Amaretto
55 grams (5 flat tablespoons) powdered sugar
40 grams (5 flat tablespoons) sifted flour
40 grams (5 flat tablespoons) sifted finely ground almonds
100 grams butter
4 egg whites from large eggs
Powdered sugar or cocoa powder for sprinkling

 

Preparation:

Slice the cherries in half. Bring the cream to a boil in a small pot while stirring. Pour into a bowl with chocolate and stir until the chocolate dissolves. Stir in Amaretto. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Heat the butter in a small pot or saucepan until the milk solids separate and brown lightly. Be careful not to let the butter burn. Strain and cool.

Sift sugar, flour and finely ground almonds into a medium bowl. Lightly beat the egg whites with a hand-held beater or a fork until soft and liquid (not foam). Continue beating as you pour the egg whites into the dry ingredients. Gently mix. Add 1/4 cup of the melted butter (make sure it's no longer hot) and mix. Add the melted chocolate and mix.

Use the remaining butter to grease a silicone baking mold with rectangular cavities of 3x5 centimeters. Pipe the batter into the molds and bake for seven minutes. Cool in the pan for five minutes before taking the cookies out. Cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar or cocoa, and serve.

Maple & cranberry financiers

The cranberries' sweet-and-sour taste lends a freshness and lightness to the maple syrup's heady sweetness. The cranberries may be replaced with chopped pistachios, bittersweet/white chocolate or caramelized pecan bits.

Ingredients

(40 cookies):

75 grams (5 tablespoons) organic natural maple syrup
40 grams (4 tablespoons) powdered sugar
40 grams ‏‏(5 tablespoons) finely ground almonds
40 grams (4 tablespoons) flour
A pinch of baking soda
3 egg whites
100 grams butter
50 grams cranberries, diced very small

Preparation:

Cook the maple syrup over a low fire until reduced to two tablespoons ‏(55 grams) around three minutes after coming to a boil. Cool. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Heat the butter in a small pot or saucepan until the milk solids separate and turn light brown. Be careful not to let the butter burn. Drain and cool.

Sift powdered sugar, flour and finely ground almonds into a medium bowl. Lightly beat the egg whites with a hand-held beater or a fork until soft and liquid (not foam). Continue beating as you pour the egg whites into the dry ingredients. Gently mix.

Add the two tablespoons of reduced maple syrup and 65 grams ‏(1/3 cup minus 1 teaspoon) of the melted butter (make sure it's longer hot) and mix. Use the remaining butter to grease a silicone baking mold with rectangular cavities of 3x5 centimeters.

Pipe the batter into the molds and bake for seven minutes. Cool in the pan for five minutes before taking the cookies out. Cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve.

limortiroche@gmail.com