I think I need help. I can’t seem to stop making financiers and financier-like mini tea cakes. But after the recent successes of the brown butter almond financiers and the coconut friands, I just knew I wanted to make at least one more variation. Especially since I had excess egg whites from making ice cream (recipe to come soon!).
My initial thoughts? I wanted to make either a hazelnut or chocolate variation. It didn’t take long to realize that the most obvious (and delicious) solution would be to kill two birds with one stone.
And because I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I decided to top the financiers with a chocolate ganache and some toasted, chopped hazelnuts. After all, this isn’t exactly the season for restraint, right?
But they’re also great plain… they end up like a slightly less dense version of these flourless double chocolate hazelnut and brown butter brownies. If you decide to skip the ganache these freeze really well… just pull out one or two for an afternoon treat when you get one of those inevitable afternoon chocolate cravings.
Chocolate Hazelnut Financiers with Chocolate Ganache Glaze
Yield: 24 mini muffin sized financiers
* 10 Tablespoons butter, cut into 10 pieces
* 1 cup hazelnuts, plus extra for garnish
* 1 cup sugar, separated
* 6 large egg whites
* 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon superfine rice flour
* 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder,plus extra for dusting pan
* 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* extra hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the hazelnuts (the one cup for the financiers plus a little extra for garnish) in a baking pan large enough to hold the hazelnuts in a single layer. Bake until the hazelnut skins are beginning to darken and blister. Remove from oven, turn off oven, and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, use your fingers or a clean dishtowel to help rub the skins off of the hazelnuts. Some skins will cling to the nut.
Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the butter to a low boil, stirring from time to time. Remove the saucepan from the heat once the butter has turned golden brown and smells nutty. Set aside.
Place 1 cup of the hazelnuts and 1/2 cup of sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture has turned into sweetened hazelnut flour (the sugar helps the hazelnuts achieve a finer grind and prevents the hazelnuts from turning to hazelnut butter). Place the hazelnut mixture into another small saucepan and add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Add the egg whites, stir, and place the saucepan over low heat. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has heated through, is slightly white and runny. Remove from heat.
Add the superfine rice flour and unsweetened cocoa powder and stir to mix. Gradually stir in the browned butter. Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl and let cool, until it has reached room temperature. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour or up to overnight.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter or spray your mini-muffin tins or mini tart molds and then dust generously with unsweetened cocoa powder. Tap out the excess. Fill each mold almost to the top with batter.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and un-mold as soon as possible. If the financiers are sticking, you can run a blunt knife around the edges to help remove the cakes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Prepare the ganache by putting the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds. Let stand for a minute or so and then stir until smooth (you can microwave the mixture for additional 10-15 second increments, if necessary, to get the mixture totally melted and smooth). Let cool slightly. Use a silicone brush to spread the ganache over the top of the financiers and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
Cool, allowing the glaze to set. Place in the refrigerator, if necessary, to get the ganache to harden. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator.