Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Tasty Muffin

Last night after blending a fragrant Mint custard to freeze into a Mint Chocolate-Chip ice cream, I was left with 5 egg whites. I didn't want a crispy meringue, nor did I want to mess around with the French Macaron. I was also headed to a party in the evening and wanted to bring a treat for people to snack on. After searching the depths of the internet and my many cookies, I finally found a recipe that would use up my egg whites and create a bite sized sweet.

It was from an old New York Times article and had a name in French that I was not quite sure how to pronounce, the Financier.  They are little cakes with caramelized edges made mostly with ground nuts, very little flour, and many egg whites. I made a few alterations of my own and they turned out quite tasty and smelling deeply of butter.

I brought them to the party that evening and since I had baked them in a mini muffin pan, they appeared to be muffins. These are much sweeter and rich than a muffin is, and it is a welcome surprise upon taking a bite through the crisp caramelized edge to the light, buttery, nutty interior.

Hazelnut-Chocolate Financiers
Based on this recipe

1 2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, ground finely
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate - varying between bits and shavings
5 egg whites
3/4 cup unsalted butter, browned and cooled

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly butter mini muffin tins (24 total) and lightly dust with flour. Brown the butter on the stove top over medium heat, until it smells nutty and has a golden brown color. Set aside to cool. Mix the ground toasted hazelnuts, powdered sugar, flour, and chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the egg whites until the dry ingredients are coated. Mix in the cooled brown butter until combined into the batter. Spoon the batter into the mini muffin tin, almost filling the molds to the brim, just slightly under-filled. Bake for 7 minutes at 450 degrees F, lower the temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for another 7 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the pans sit in the oven for another 5 minutes before taking out to cool on the racks. I took mine out of the molds about 10 minutes after baking because I was in a hurry, but you could wait until they have cooled more.