The combination of chocolate and almonds is one one of my favorite things. The dessert that incorporates these two ingredients beautifully is the French tea cookie, the financier. Traditionally made in small rectangular molds so that they resemble gold bars, these little cookies were eaten by on-the-go people who worked in the financial district in France. Not limited to French financiers any longer, these cookies can be easily made and enjoyed anywhere by anyone. They make a fine finish to any meal, go well with afternoon tea, or are just as nice with a mid-morning coffee break.
The really special thing about this recipe is that it uses no flour at all. It's completely free of gluten. Since I had my aunt, who was recently diagnosed with celiac disease, visit last week, I knew I had to make these for her. To make them extra nutty, I browned the butter. It's a traditional step that should not be skipped in making flavorful financiers. Crisp on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside, these treats turned out to be very enjoyable, even for the regular-diet folks.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Financiers
This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Gluten-Free Girl, who got it from David Lebovitz. I used almond meal/flour. If not available, grind slivered almonds in a food processor and measure 1 cup.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup almond meal/flour
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a cupcake tin.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter on low heat until it starts to turn brown.
In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, and confectioners sugar. Stir in the egg whites until incorporated. Then gradually stir in the brown butter and almond extract until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly in the cupcake tin using a mini releasable ice cream scoop or two spoons. Fill each about 1/2 full. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 12 financiers.