Sunday, 6 May 2012

Brown Butter Choc Chip Friands - We Should Cocoa 21

Newly introduced to friands, I am now a real fan. Half way between a macaroon and a cake, these are gloriously crisp on the outside, soft and delectable on the inside. As soon as Laura of How to Cook Good Food announced this month's ingredient for We Should Cocoa was to be almonds, friands were the first thing that popped into my head. And that idea has not gone away. Friands it is then.

Friands are very similar to financiers. Without being an expert on the subject and unable to find much information about these little cakes, it seems that friands are the antipodean version of the French financier. Financiers are traditionally baked in a rectangular shape and are made with brown butter or hazelnut butter (beurre noisette) as it is known in France. Friands are, apparently, baked in oval moulds. Mine are baked in round moulds because that's all I have. Anyway, I thought I'd try baking some friands with the traditional financier brown butter to see what difference it made.

Co-incidentally, minutes before I was about to bake these, I read a post for brown butter chocolate chunk cookies over at The Little Loaf. As well as using buerre noisette in her cookies she had also used buckwheat flour to make them gluten free. Well what a brilliant idea. Friands don't have much flour, relying mostly on ground almonds, so it seemed an opportunity not to be missed to make them gluten free.

It is always useful to have a few good gluten free recipes up ones sleeve. Coeliac disease is something we are becoming increasingly aware of. However, although CT has a friend who suffers from it, I had no idea it was quite as prevalent as it is, with 1 in 100 people being affected by it in the UK. It is an autoimmune condition affecting the lining of the small intestine and is triggered by the consumption of gluten. Gluten is found in a number of grains, but specifically wheat, rye and barley. Katie of Apple & Spice who was diagnosed with the disease about a year ago is running a coeliac awareness raising challenge to coincide with National Coeliac Awareness Week (14th-20th May).

This is what I did:
  • Melted 90g unsalted butter over a low heat and left to bubble gently. Checking every now and again, left it until the solids had sunk to the bottom and turned a light brown. Immediately took off the heat as I didn't want the butter to burn. Left to cool.
  • Whisked 3 duck eggs whites until frothy (not stiff).
  • Stirred in the cooled butter.
  • Sifted in 120g icing sugar, 45g buckwheat flour and 60g ground almonds.
  • Chopped 50g dark chocolate (85%) and stirred in as lightly as possible.
  • Spooned into 12 silicone mini muffin cases and divided the remainder between 6 larger ones.
  • Sprinkled the tops with slivered almonds.
  • Baked at 180C for 15 minutes and removed the mini friands. Baked the larger ones for a further 3 minutes (18 in total).
  • Placed on a rack to cool a bit, then turned out of the cases to cool completely.
  • Dusted with icing sugar.
The aroma of the nut like butter as it turned brown was delicious and filled the house with its fragrance. The mini friands were destined to go to friends, but CT and I got to try the larger ones. These were as good as I remembered the cinnamon choc chip ones to be, if not better. the buckwheat flour worked really well, although we couldn't detect anything specific. The brown butter gave an added depth to the almonds bringing out the nutty flavour as well as adding a slight richness to the whole. The mellow sweetness of the friand combined well with the dark bitter chocolate and made for an excellent and varied taste experience.

58 comments:

  1. Nothing more to say than yuuuum.

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    1. That's good enough ;-) Thanks for visiting.

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  2. Gorgeous! Friands didn't even cross my mind for this challenge but what a brilliant idea!

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  3. Absolutely delicious. I love almonds and chocolate and these cakes (new to me) are just worth displaying in a patisserie shop!

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    1. Thank you Alida - that's a very kind comment. Do give them a try, they are delicious.

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  4. Lovely! I really like friands.

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    1. MCB - thank you. It's taken me a while, but now I realise I do too.

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  5. I too read The Little Loaf's post on brown butter chic chop cookies and thought how amazing they sounded, and how good an idea to use buckwheat flour in them.
    Now seeing those friands I am torn between the two. Which ones do I make first? I am a massive of of Madeleines so I may be more swayed by these. The only trouble is, they sound so light and delicate that I would have to eat the whole batch in one go!
    What a great entry to We Should Cocoa, thanks Choclette :-) xx

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    1. Those choc chip cookies of the Little Loaf's are very tempting. I've still not got around to making Madeleines, mostly because I don't have the right pan - I've never eaten one either!!!

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  6. I think you mean egg whites not yolks in the ingrdients. And let's stop calling them friands, a dreadful antipodean nomenclature. They are French and therefore financiers. ;o)

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    1. Lester thank you for pointing out my yolk mistake - now corrected! Thanks also for coming down on the side of financiers - I'm interested in finding out more if I can.

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  7. There definitely seems to be a trend at the moment with brown butter cropping up in recipes, such as the Little Loaf's, but I must admit, I've not tried it yet. These look gorgeous, and lovely and light, so I'd love to try these! :)

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    1. Thank you Susie. Years ago, I used to make Nigella's brown butter cupcakes which were delicious, not sure why I stopped.

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  8. I can almost smell them baking...almost!

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    1. Green Dragonette - ohh, they smelt so good :)

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  9. Beautiful and great colours!!
    Have a nice Sunday

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  10. Hi Choclette, such a gorgeous looking recipe! Just one question, I don't have access to duck eggs, what amount of standard hens eggs would I replace them with? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Susan, thank you. I'd use large hens eggs instead of duck eggs. I often find them difficult to get hold of too - I used to get really good ones from our local Cornish shop, but they've recently gone out of business. Now I can get them sometimes from our local country market or greengrocer.

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  11. I love friands - particularly the way they dome when baking. These look lovely

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    1. CC thank you. The domed look does make they kind of cute ;-)

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  12. These look lovely! I've never made friands before but I bought a mould (shopaholic and bakingaddict that I am!) I'll have to track down some buckwheat flour to make these and the cookies!

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    1. Think I'm going to have to come up and raid your store sometime ;-) Are your moulds oval shaped ones? Health food shops should sell buckwheat flour. You might also find it at somewhere like Waitrose.

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  13. I just tried a financier for the first time this morning, we happened to spot them at our favorite bakery, now I'm dying to try these friands. I bet they have a wonderful texture.

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    1. I've never had a financier or a friand that I haven't made myself - obviously not yet reached the UK ;-)

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    1. Thank you - they worked really well so I think I will try the mini version again.

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  15. Wow these look divine! Thanks so much for supporting the coeliac event. Love the idea of adding the browned butter. Must try!

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    1. Hi Katie - it seems like a good cause to support. I keep meaning to use brown butter more often, but never remember when I'm actually baking.

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  16. These really do sound wonderful. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took sometime to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  17. You make some delicious looking foods! Yum!!!

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  18. Yum! Here's to brown butter in baking - these look absolutely delicious :-)

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    1. Thank you, I really must try using it more often. Thanks for putting the idea of buckwheat into my head - it worked really well in these friands.

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  19. I love friands (and I actually went out and bought a friand tin just to prove it). Yours sound really good and who cares about the shape? I know that there's no real difference between financiers and friands except accent and shape; although I prefer friands because they tend to be bigger and I'm greedy. Oh, and financiers make me think of bankers and that's no fun at all.

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    1. No, you're quite right Phil, I don't want to be reminded of bankers :( Looking forward to seeing your fancy new friands now - how long will I have to wait?

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  20. I recently wrote about coeliac disease and gluten free baking too. Great minds think alike! I did not know there was an awareness week so that was good to find out. Not tried these before but they look good! I now mark my recipes with gluten free or try to give gluten free options as I get asked so much for GF recipes and my Mum is coeliac.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your mother, that can't be much fun for her. But hopefully things are improving all the time as people get more used to gluten free baking.

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  21. These look great and thanks for the explanation about the difference between friands and financiers as I knew they were similar but hadn't realised friands were Australian. I've not got around to making either as I didn't have the right moulds but seeing how great yours have come out in silicon muffin moulds I see that doesn't matter!

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    1. Glad I've cleared up the mystery for someone other than myself Sarah - it can all get very confusing sometimes! Yes, don't worry about the moulds, these work really well in muffin tins, just don't fill them up too much.

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  22. Ooh! Just utter the words brown butter and I am sold! These look fantastic! I can hardly believe they are gluten free - and the explanation of friands vs. financiers is something I've always wondered about.

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    1. Thanks Ruth, not really sure why I don't use brown butter more often. Too many things to think about, that's my excuse anyway!

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  23. They look gorgeous, seriously in love with anything with browned butter! I've emailed this page link to a friend who is coeliac, I'm sure she will love them!

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    1. Thanks Hannah, I hope she likes them, it can't be fun not being able to eat what everyone else is eating.

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  24. Jinx! I just posted a browned butter recipe today as well! We adore friands, but I've tried making them with browned butter. And glad to know they work so well gluten-free, thanks! xx

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    1. Ooh, I'm coming over to see what brown butter goodies you've been baking Celia - something delicious I know. Not really sure why I don't use it more often. Have you posted about friands on our blog?

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    2. Yes, a couple of times - we make a tinned peach version recently, but we usually make raspberry and chocolate ones! Pete loves them! :)

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  25. Oh my gosh these sound easy and yummy!

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    1. Thank you. it's always good to have a few (or maybe a lot of) easy recipes in one's repertoire :)

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  26. You are absolutely right Choclette- its always really useful to have a few tasty, scrummy gluten free recipes to hand. I've never made friands before (and with your descriptions in mind I've no idea why not)- so this page is currently being bookmarked! Thank you!!

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    1. Oh Kate, you are missing a treat - although that's what everyone tells me about Madeleine's!

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  27. these sound wonderful - I have eaten friands when our and always loved them - but never made them - but I did made your chocolate polenta cake again and found it very fudgy (albeit still a bit grainy) so I have faith in your almond baked goods - and thanks for the reminder of the WSC

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  28. You have inspired me for another blogging challenge! I love brown butter and I love friands and these look so delectable!

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  29. I have never heard of friands before. These look delicious.

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  30. These look good - the colours are nice.

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