Then we talked about the structure of our blog posts -- this is what I normally do, I ramble about something then I come to the recipe. Hazelnut financiers - financiers are these small French cakes that are delicate and moist and sweet. Usually they're in the form of bars, kind of like blocks of gold. I've always loved them and I couldn't believe how straightforward this recipe was.
I baked them in mini muffin tins, and usually they're made with ground almonds but I got this hazelnut version of it from Lottie and Doof, a great blog. Then I did these candied hazelnut things to make them look pretty.
Recipe adapted from Lottie & Doof (that got it from The Sugar Cube)
makes about 36 small financiers
170g (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp toasted and skinned hazelnuts
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups icing sugar
4 medium egg whites, room temperature
Pointed caramel hazelnuts
36 toasted and skinned hazelnuts
1 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F. Butter the cups of a whoopie pie pan or muffin tins.
Put the butter in a pan and cook over medium heat until the butter darkens to a nutty brown and the solids drop to the bottom of the pan, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and give the butter a good whisk to disperse the little brown bits before pouring 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of it into a measuring cup. If you have any extra butter, refrigerate it for another use.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the toasted hazelnuts and the flour and process until the hazelnuts are finely ground, like almond flour. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the salt and icing sugar to the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the egg whites and browned butter and whisk again to combine.
Fill each of the indentations of the whoopie pie pan with 2-3 tablespoons of the batter. Bake until golden, the sides look caramelized and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 18 to 20 minutes.
for the hazelnuts
Gently insert the tip of a cocktail stick into the side of each hazelnut.
Place a cutting board on the side of the counter top that's directly below a shelf or cupboard. Put some tape along the side of the shelf or cupboard at the bottom, that's where you'll tape the skewers and let the caramel drip onto the cutting board.
Make the caramel by putting a cup of sugar in a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Do not stir but you can swirl your pan around. As soon as it's all melted and it turns into an amber color, remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
Dip each skewered hazelnut into the caramel, letting excess drip back into pan. When dripping syrup becomes a thin string, secure them on the shelf with the tape. Repeat with remaining hazelnuts, and you can reheat the caramel when it hardens. Let stand until caramel string has hardened, about 5 minutes.
With the remaining caramel in the pan, pour in a bit of hot water and let it turn into a liquid caramel. Dip each financier into the caramel then top with the hazelnuts.