Saturday, 12 April 2014

Hazelnut Financiers

I was at a food blogging workshop last night and so I thought I'd write about Happy Belly in this post.  First of all, hello if this is your first time here, and well, if it's not, then you might know that Happy Belly is an incredibly personal blog.  I usually have a story with each post, and I try my best to relate it to the recipe.  It can be a memory associated with the dish, it can be how I personal feel towards the dish,  or a story related to the setting and the context in which I made the dish.  These hazelnut financiers were, for instance, made for this workshop, and that workshop made me reflect a lot on this blog, and therefore this will be the story attached to these little petit fours.  If you're not interested, just scroll down to the recipe.  It's from Lottie and Doof and they're just *kisses finger tips* mwah.  Sweet and nutty little gems that are crunchy and caramelized on the outside, spongy and moist on the inside, just *mwah*.

Back to this blog.  Maybe unlike some food bloggers, I don't just talk about the food and the recipe, I pour my heart out on Happy Belly. I don't think I'm a particularly good writer but I love to write as I find comfort in it.  I don't do too much creative writing, I just write about myself and my emotions and all those sappy things because it's therapeutic.  Putting feelings and emotions into words may not do them justice but for me it helps me conceptualize and understand them, or else they're just a chaotic jumble of inexplicable things and it's all just so overwhelming.  If you keep up with Happy Belly you'll also know that I'm quite..emotionally volatile.  Let's just say that.
One thing mentioned at the workshop was the fear of having people read your blog. Yea, it's a bit awkward, I still think none of my friends read it.  It is very personal and I spill my heart out and bleed onto this but then before publishing the post I'll clean it up and do some heavy editing so it's all rather... superficial.  Well, relative to the first draft. 

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
cocktails ticks

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. 


  1. SO YUMMY!!! Lewis thought these were the tastiest treats at the event! And, it is totally okay to pour your heart out. And you do have friends who read it :)

  2. I think I may have to agree with Lewis that these were the tastiest canapes (though everything was delicious)! I've been reading your blog regularly now and I really enjoy your posts. I'm glad I'll have a way to get regular updates about your interesting life and delicious food after you graduate! :)

    1. loved your kale pesto! I'm gonna try making it because like you said, i won't have to buy like 3 packs of basil! Also, saw your pistachio and kale pesto, may try that too! And thanks Caterina, I really enjoy your posts and your stories as well! :)

  3. Huh. I never knew there were food blogger workshops. My posts are usually all over the place, so I may need to check one out!
    And I have never heard of financiers before. I just did a quick search on wiki for it. Sounds like something I would want to try :)

    1. it was an independent university event, it was quite cool. There weren't any professionals though, it was just a couple of bloggers talking :)

      Oh you want to try these, sensational.


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