I watch all of the Baking Championships year-round (Spring, Halloween, Holiday and even the Kid’s one) – in fact, I save them on my DVR to do a workout while watching – but I am not much of a baker. Mainly because I avoid gluten and know that I would not have much self-control with some yummy baked goodies in the house.
However, whenever this recipe shows up, I’ve been intrigued by the financier (pronounced fee-nahn-see-ay) a very popular French pastry that is made mainly with nut flour and egg whites. They are usually made in little squares, thought to resemble a gold ingot, thus the name. A few weeks ago, feeling inspired enough to try to make a batch, I did some googling and came across a recipe that makes them with browned butter and in mini muffin pans. Having everything the recipe required on hand, and knowing how I could easily swap out with GF and lo-carb ingredients, I made my first batch. Delicious and husband-approved. Two of them with some tea or milk make a simple and satisfying snack.
These are possibly keto friendly and almost paleo perfect : ) but I don’t track that closely with diet dogma. Taking a more intuitive approach to eating, I do try to eat less carbs and am careful with my choices of sweeteners and grains, but not strict about it. Make them VERY low carb by using only monk fruit. But there are 5 tablespoons of flour (I use gluten-free), which over 24 of the finished product, is quite a minute amount of grain.
I changed up the recipe in all 4 batches; Costco sells a nice almond flour, which I used in the first batch. I replaced the sugar with coconut sugar and used 5 TB of gluten-free flour.
Second batch: Now here it gets interesting. I soaked raw pecans for 12 hours, then rinsed and fully dehydrated. Then ground them into flour. Whenever you soak your nuts, seeds and beans, you make them much more digestible as it releases the antinutrients that block absorption of all the good stuff they have. Enhances bio-availability, in other words. This video has some instructions on the process of soaking and sprouting. Also used only monk fruit (very low glycemic) and added lots of cinnamon. And added chocolate chips to about half of them (see photo above) These were also delicious.
Third batch: Did the same thing with walnuts and so far, these were our favorites. In this batch, used a combination of coconut sugar and monk fruit and most of them got some chocolate chips.
Fourth batch: Since I had plenty of bio-boosted walnuts left, I made one more batch but decided to try using ghee instead of the browned butter. Also, instead of hand-greasing each of the mini-muffin tins I used a natural avocado spray. These were certainly delicious, but not as tasty without the browned butter AND they stuck more to the pan than the previous 3 batches.
Future batches: Plan on trying with hazelnuts and pistachios when I go shopping next. Also adding dried and fresh fruit. I am also curious about adding some low-sugar organic apricot preserves.
Here’s how to brown the butter:
It is not the butter itself that browns (unless you burn it, using too much heat) but the milk solids, so you have to keep a good watch on the pan. Best to use one that has a white interior so you can see the whole process. I brown by the stick, but you only use a few ounces, so save the rest to make everything taste amazing.
Salted or non? It’s up to you. You can always add salt to unsalted browned butter, but you can’t remove it. It does taste better with some salt. I have been using an organic butter.
- Place a stick of butter in a small saucepan and start to melt at medium heat.
- As it melts, raise the temperature to medium high and keep stirring.
- The water that separates from the butter will form foam at the top which you can move away with a spatula to see how it is going underneath, where the magical browning takes place.
- When you see the browned bits, it’s ready. Cool it off before adding the 2.5 oz. in the batter. (I put the saucepan in the freezer for 10 minutes)
- Store the rest in a glass jar. It makes a delicious spread on toast or crackers or drizzled over vegetables or grains.
Brown Butter Financiers
4 egg whites (make sure to have the eggs out for an hour or two before or submerge whole eggs in hot water to bring them to room temperature
1 cup nut flour (almond or whichever you’d like – even a combination!)
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, monk fruit or combination
5 tablespoons of gluten-free flour
¼ tsp sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 ½ oz. of brown butter (can be slightly warm but not too hot)
1/3 cup of chocolate chips (either mix into the batter or add once you’ve filled the mini-muffin tins)
Plus extra butter or spread for greasing the mini-muffin tins
Preheat the oven to 375ºF/180ºC and butter the insides of 24 mini muffin tins using a white paper towel. Make sure to butter all of the indentations generously as otherwise they may stick.
In a medium bowl, mix the cup of nut flour, sweetener, gluten-free and salt. Stir in the egg whites and vanilla or almond extract, then the browned butter.
Fill each of the mini muffin tins almost to the top. Rap the tins sharply on the counter to level the tops, then bake for 11-13 minutes, until nicely browned at top and a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool a bit and it should be easy to remove them to a plate or a rack. They can be stored in the fridge in a tightly-closed container or plastic bag. They are not as yummy cold, so either toast them a bit or put them in the microwave for about 25 seconds to soften them.