Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chocolate Financier Cakes and Tea Parties

Growing up I adored a good tea party!  I used to make my little sisters dress up in frilly dresses and then invite neighborhood friends over and have fancy tea parties.  Ha...guess a lot of things don't change over the years : ) This love of tea parties evolved into me collecting mini tea sets until I was  teenager...when all was said and done I had over 30 mini tea sets!  I saved a few of my favorite sets for when I have a daughter (if I am so blessed)...maybe she will throw tea parties and invite her super cool mommy : ) 

My other encounter with tea parties was when I was a Senior in High School and living with 2 friends from school and 2 sweet old ladies who were also sisters.  Every afternoon at exactly 4pm we would gather around the round kitchen table and have tea and a snack.  I had decided I actually didn't like "real" tea at this point in my life - they would offer it to me every day and I would always say, "no thank you, I don't like drinking dirty water!"  Guess I preferred the make believe tea I would drink when I was younger instead.  : ) The 5 of us would chat about our days and we would listen to the old sisters tell stories from their childhoods.  I have fond memories of that year, and whenever I now drink "real" tea I think of the lovely Philbin and Hennessy sisters.

When we were in France we visited with my husband's distant relatives.  As soon as we arrived at their home we sat down to tea on their back porch overlooking their beautiful garden.  It was a damp and chilly day so the hot tea was so welcomed!  They served us a lovely loaf of sweet bread, I believe it was Brioche, with some amazing homemade fruit jam.  In that moment I am pretty sure I truly experienced what it was like to be French and live in France....certifiably the most "French" moment of our trip. : )
While we were in Paris I tried a few pastries that I had never heard of.  One of those was the Chocolate Financier cakes.  This cake was so moist, delicious, and simple that I had to try and replicate it when I got home.  I just threw a bridal shower tea for my friend and decided there was no better occasion to make these cakes then now!  They ended up being moist little brownie like bites with the texture of the ground almonds being an amazing combination of deliciousness!  
Tea Party Menu:  Fresh Crudites and hummus, ham/spinach/and piave cheese quiches, curried chicken sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, oat scones with assorted jams, fresh fruit salad, chocolate financier cakes, shortbread cookies, roasted peach lemonade, and assorted teas.
This may get confusing...hang in there : )

 I used my scale to make these and realized the non weighed measurements seemed very off to me...I am posting the original recipe and then my notes on the side of each ingredient.  For best results use a scale for this recipe.
Chocolate Financiers
adapted slightly from Chef Eddy Van Damme Blog

1 ½ Cups (5 oz) Sliced almonds or almond meal 
(if you use sliced almonds, make sure you end up with 1 1/2 cups of ground almonds)

1 Cup (8 oz)  Extra fine granulated sugar 

½ Cup minus 1 TBSP (2 oz) All purpose flour 
7 large (7 oz) Egg whites 

(I ended up only using 5 large eggs to get 7oz of egg whites)

½ teaspoon Salt (table not kosher)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Almond extract
1 ½ sticks (6 oz) Unsalted butter

(6 oz ended up being 2 sticks minus 1 TBS of butter for me- most sticks of butter from the grocery store say they are 4 oz each, but really they are not)

4 oz Bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips, 60% cacao 

Grease your mini muffin pans and set aside. (you can also make these in any form you like...regular muffin pans, some loaf pans, etc...just keep in mind the bake time will have to be adjusted accordingly)

If you are using sliced almonds instead of almond meal - Place the sliced almonds with the sugar and flour in a food processor and process until the almonds are finer than cornmeal and then transfer to a bowl. Mix the almond meal (or ground up almonds), flour, and sugar together in a large bowl until combined.  

Add the egg whites, salt, vanilla and almond extract and mix together using a rubber spatula.

Cut the chocolate into small pieces, or just leave as if if you are using chocolate chips, and combine with the butter. Melt over barely simmering water (double boiler), the bowl not touching the water. Remove from heat when ¾ of the chocolate is melted.  Stir until all the chocolate is melted and add to the above, stir until combined.
Fill the mini muffin tins ¾ full and bake in a 350⁰F (180⁰C) oven until the center of the financier cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with a finger. About 12-15 minutes for the mini muffin pans. For other sizes bake until the center of the cakes bounce back when pressed.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan.  

I just ate the last one yesterday, so I know for a fact 4 days later they still taste amazing!

This recipe may be confusing, but it is so worth it in the end!  I see myself making them again soon!

Let's all work to bring back the lovely tradition of afternoon tea.  
Then invite a friend over for tea and these financier cakes.

Eat your heart out,


Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 
- Colossians 3:12-14 

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