Thursday, April 26, 2012

Financier Recipe

Financiers- Freshly out of the oven.  Note the pitted holes and perfectly shaped tapered ends.
Today's baking post is going to be on Financiers. Financiers are called financiers because they are baked in tapered tartlet pans or "financier molds" which make them resemble a banker's bar of gold (Financiers). Financiers are little tea cakes. They are small enough that you can finish eating them in one or two bites. The best way to describe them would be that they are sort of like a cross between a madeleine and a macaron. In fact, the flavors are very similar to a macaron because of the use of almond powder, but unlike a macaron, it requires nowhere near the fussiness and precision required achieve perfection. I like it this way because it means as a recipe is it "high yield", super easy, reliable for the home baker and you can always count on it if you have to entertain.  

Now, with the way the news has been reporting about the global economy recently, let these gold bars remind you that better days are around the corner... starting in your kitchen! :)  Just think, you have tons of baked gold bars laying around. Gratitude always makes everything better, doesn't it? It does for me.  

Have a wonderful day and thanks for reading!

Financier Recipe:

Yield: About 4 dozen when used with The Browncookie.com financier molds

Ingredients:
1-1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
2 cups (6 ounces) sliced blanched almonds 
2-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar (Measure out 2 cups, set aside and put 1/4 cup in a separate bowl)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large eggs) room temperature

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Whisk the butter frequently to prevent it from burning.  When the butter has turned a golden brown color, take it off the stove.  (Tip: If using an All-Clad saucepan, take it off the stove just when the butter is about to turn golden brown because the heat from the pot will continue to brown the butter.)  This will take about 6-7 minutes depending on your stove. Let the butter cool completely.
This is the color of the butter you want.  It should not be much darker than this.
Next, place the 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar with the almonds in a bowl of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. This step may be skipped if you are using almond meal that is already finely chopped.
Egg white- soft peaks
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt and add the nut-sugar mixture. Stir to combine.
In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with 2 cups of confectioners' sugar until the egg white has turned foamy. Remove bowl from the stand.  In three parts, add flour-nut mixture, alternating with the butter mixture.  Gently mix the ingredients together until just combined.

Chill the batter for at least 2 hours or up to 4 days prior to baking.

(Tip: Let the batter come back to around room temperature before filling the molds. This will ensure proper browning and texture.)
Filled Financiers
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Butter and flour financier molds.  It is good to have a set of 24 fancier molds on hand, but if you have less, you just have to repeat the process more often. Place the molds on a rimmed baking sheet.  Fill the financier molds about 1/2 way (about 1 tablespoon each) and tap the molds down gently to slightly spread out the batter.

Bake the financiers for about 10-12 mins, until the edges of the cakes have turned golden brown.

Allow to cool and then remove the cake using a small spatula or a toothpick.

Enjoy!

Julie

Source: Financier recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

Resource:  Browncookie.com: Financier Molds

Full Disclosure:The Browncookie blog is the official blog of Browncookie.com. Browncookie.com sources bakeware, baking supplies and kitchenware to bring out the chef in you. All of our suppliers must pass our strict corporate code of conduct in order to conduct business with us. Some of the products featured on this page are for only for discussion and sharing of usage opinions. Browncookie.com will fully disclose when a product endorsement is paid or advertised.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Apple cupcake topped with Apple-shaped Candy

Apple cupcake topped with apple shaped candy
Hello everybody!

Spring is here! In Seattle, the days are getting longer and I can even *almost* feel a tinge of warmth in the air. Gone are the days when I need to crouch down near the heat return in the morning as I wait for the hot coffee to brew. The change in weather is already leaving me refreshed after a cold winter. Spring is a season of renewal, are you doing anything to recharge for the year? 


Speaking of the welcoming arrival of spring, I am already craving local peaches, berries, fresh carrots and vegetables.  However, the only local fruits available here now are still overwintered local apples and imported tropical fruits like bananas, oranges and berries- not many options yet. So, I decided to go with an apple-based cupcake. Adding apples to cupcakes will cut down on the amount of flour used while at the same time packing in flavors. Apple cupcakes are best paired with a cream cheese frosting because the tanginess from the cream cheese compliments perfectly with the natural tanginess form the apples. It is also not as sweet compared to traditional buttercream frosting. I also like to top cupcakes with edible toppings, so I molded my own apple shaped candy to top the cupcakes. The cream cheese frosting is thick and dense enough to support the candy without sagging the frosting. Enjoy!

Apple Cupcake Recipe
Printer Friendly Version

Ingredients:
Yield: 24 Cupcakes
2 cups apples, skin on, grated
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup butter
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a muffin tray with cupcake papers. 
3. Wash and grate apples in a medium sized sauce pan.
4. Add sugar, water, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into the same sauce pan and bring the mixture to a boil.
5. Let the mixture cool (about 30 mins)
6. Add flour and baking soda in the sauce pan and stir until combined.  Do not overmix.
7. Fill the paper lined cupcake tins to 2/3 full.  These cupcakes do not expand a lot, so if you need the cakes to be slightly taller, you can fill it *almost* all the way to the top.
8. Bake for about 30 mins, or until the cake tester turns out clean when tested.  It is hard to overbake this cake because it is quite a moist batter.

Apple Candy Recipe
Yield: 12 Apple Shaped Candies


Ingredients
6 oz (half a bag) of colored candy (Pick any color of your choice.  We picked pink.)
Apple Candy Mold

Directions:
1) In a small sauce pan, fill it halfway with water and bring to a boil.
2) Put a heat safe bowl over the hot water and put the candy inside.
3) In about 10 mins, the candy should have melted.  Make sure the candy is completely melted by ensuring that it has a good, thin, flowing texture.
4) Add the candy to the apple shaped candy molds and stir with a toothpick.
5) Lift the mold carefully and tap the mold to eliminate air bubbles.
6) Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, then transfer to refrigerator to finish cooling.
7) When the candy is completely set, remove them from the mold.  The candy release should be clean and flawless if the candy has set properly.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: About 1 dozen if you are piping it high, 2 dozen if more flat.

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, chilled
1 stick butter, at room temperature
3 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
4 tsp clear vanilla extract

Directions:
1) Beat the butter and cream cheese together until it is smooth, light and fluffy.  This will take about 2-3 minutes on high.
2) Add in the confectioners' sugar and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat 2-3 minutes more.
3) Add the clear vanilla extract.
4) Carefully load the icing into a large icing bag fitted with a tip of your choice. 
5) Frost cupcakes! 

Sources:
Apple Cupcakes: Adapted from Dayla @Food.com
Apple Candy Toppings: A Browncookie.com original
Cream Cheese Frosting: Adapted from Annie-Eats who adapted it from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Resources:
Browncookie.com: Apple Candy Mold
Browncookie.com: Red Baker's Twine
Browncookie.com: Piping Tips
Wilton.com: Pink Candy Melts *
*Browncookie.com is an authorized distributor of Wilton.  

Full Disclosure: The Browncookie blog is the official blog of Browncookie.com. Browncookie.com sources bakeware, baking supplies and kitchenware to bring out the chef in you. All of our suppliers must pass our strict corporate code of conduct in order to conduct business with us. Some of the products featured on this page are for only for discussion and sharing of usage opinions. Browncookie.com will fully disclose when a product endorsement is paid or advertised.
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