These classic French treats are closer to muffins than cookies, with a delicate, cake-like interior and rich, buttery flavor. They’re made with nutty browned butter and ground almonds (I use almond flour for convenience), and they are traditionally baked in small, rectangular molds that resemble gold bars. Since you might not have traditional financier molds on hand, you can bake them in mini-muffin pans, which, because of their shape, allow the financiers to stay moist longer. And if you use silicone molds, you don’t even need to grease the pans! I love the combination of tart cranberries and almonds in these treats, and I added some grated orange zest for a floral endnote.
Makes about 30 mini muffins or fifty 2ʺ x 1ʺ rectangular financiers
- 10 tablespoons (142 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 2/3 cup (87 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (101 grams) almond flour
- 4 large (120 grams) egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 25 (if making rectangles) or 45 (for mini muffins) fresh cranberries, each cut in half crosswise
- Put the butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Continue cooking, letting the butter bubble and crackle (or ‘sing’, as the French say) until it then turns golden brown and has a nutty fragrance, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚ For this recipe, you can either use a mini muffin pan or 2ʺ x 1ʺfinancier molds. If you are using aluminum molds, brush the interior of the cups well with softened butter (or spray with non-stick cooking spray). If you are using silicone molds, there’s no need to grease them.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the salt, sugar and almond flour and whisk gently to combine well, breaking up any lumps in the almond flour.
- In another medium bowl, whisk the egg whites just to break them up, then stir them into the dry ingredients along with the vanilla and orange zest.
- Heat up the browned butter just so that it is hot. Stir the hot butter (along with any of the loose browned bits in the pan) into the flour mixture just until blended. Let the batter stand for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the batter to a disposable pastry bag. Snip off the tip to create a small opening, then pipe the batter into each mold, filling them about ¾ full. If you are making mini muffins, top each one with 3 cranberry halves, cut side down. If you are making rectangular financiers, top each one with 2 cranberry halves, cut side down. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until they are golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Unmold and cool completely on a wire rack. (If you have trouble unmolding the mini muffins, run a small, offset metal spatula around the sides of each mold to loosen the muffin, then gently lift it out.)