Hazelnut Financiers

My friend Karin likes to pronounce financiers like the occupation, which I highly recommend.

I had a financier from The Little Door Next Door in Los Angeles a few years back that set my standard for these tiny cakes pretty high. It was crisp and caramelized on the edges and tender in the middle. It had an intense almond flavor and was completely delicious. Every other financier has paled in comparison, they can be sort of  insipidly sweet. Long story short, I had written off financiers.

Kir Jensen is an intrepid pastry chef who introduced herself to me over email a few months back. She runs a small pastry food cart in Portland called The Sugar Cube, but she had also worked in fancy kitchens in Chicago. She can now call herself a cookbook author. She spent last winter recording some of her favorite recipes for a book that was recently released by Chronicle. Kir is a totally sweet and endearing email corespondent, but I honestly had no idea what to expect from the book. She sent me a copy last week and I read through almost the entire thing within 24 hours. For those of us who care about pastry, it is a great read and a wonderful resource. It is both totally irreverent and full of a Nancy Silverton-like abundance of  information and tips.

The first recipe I tried was for hazelnut financiers, or as Kir calls them Hazelnibbies (she adds cacao nibs). They are crazy good. This will be my base recipe for all future financier experiments (I’ve already tried an almond version—wonderful!). If you love hazelnuts, you need to make these as soon as possible. I am beyond excited to keep baking from this book.

Some notes:

Like Kir, I like my financiers thin and crisp. I baked these, as directed, in a whoopie pie pan that I just happened to have (my excuse). The indentations in my pan are 3″x 1/2″ and I filled each with 1 ounce of batter. You could also use a muffin tin, but only fill each cavity with a 2-3 tablespoons.  The batter can hang out in the fridge, if needed. I chilled mine for a couple of hours before baking, but it would also be fine overnight. Don’t pull these too early, make sure they are nice and caramelized around the edge. Kir’s serving suggestion of honey and Maldon salt is spot on, do it. Also, I made a half recipe, which (with my pan) made about 16 financiers. The full recipe below would have you end up with 32+, which just seems like a lot of financiers, unless you were having a party. Do what you need to do.

Hazelnibbies ( from The Sugar Cube by Kir Jensen)

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/4 cups toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 8 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cacao nibs
  • Vanilla syrup
  • Buckwheat (or other) honey and Maldon sea salt for serving

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the cups of a whoopie pie pan, or muffin tins.

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds with the back of a knife. Add to a small saute pan along with the pod and the butter and cook over medium heat until the butter darkens to a nutty brown and the solids drop to the bottom of the pan, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the vanilla bean pod. Give the butter a good whisk to disperse the little brown bits and vanilla seeds into the liquid before pouring 1 1/4 cups of it into a measuring cup. If you have any extra butter, refrigerate it for another use.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the toasted hazelnuts and the flour and process until the hazelnuts are finely ground, like almond flour. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the salt and confectioners’ sugar to the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the egg whites and browned butter and whisk again to combine. Stir in the nibs.

Fill each of the indentations of the whoopie pie pan with 2-3 tablespoons of the batter. Bake until golden, the sides look caramelized and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 18 to 20 minutes.

Brush the vanilla syrup liberally over the still-warm financiers. Serve warm, drizzled with buckwheat honey and sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts and Maldon sea salt. They also keep well for a few days stored in an air-tight container.

Vanilla Syrup

  • 1/4 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Split the piece of vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds with the back of a knife. Add to a saucepan with the pod, the water and the sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Let boil 1 minute and then remove from the heat.


40 comments to “Hazelnut Financiers”

  1. Cool! I had never heard of these. The recipe looks great too; not just flour and sugar like some cakes, lots of interesting/complex flavors that I’m sure make a really neat result. Any suggestions on different pans that might work if we don’t have whoopie pie pans?

  2. Thanks for the tip about using muffin tins, because I can’t really justify the space for a whoopie pie tin…yet! Hazelnuts are my mom’s favorite, so I’ll definitely make these for her for Mother’s Day.

    Also, replying to your most recent tweet here since I don’t have twitter, there’s a great blog called The Bite House, which is written by a chef living in the Maritimes, maybe he might have some ideas about things to do/see/eat while you’re there. Here’s the link: http://thebitehouse.com/

  3. Kristina- thanks so much! He sounds like a great resource.

  4. Wow. These look incredible. I’m always looking for any good excuse to incorporate more hazelnuts into my diet.

  5. Also, Kristina- your site is so beautiful!

  6. These looks delicious. I had the most amazing almond financier in Paris this past winter and have nibbled on the edge of a few look a-likes since, but have been fully disappointed, disappointed to the point of booking a train back to Paris just for that perfect financier. I will definitely try this recipe, with both hazelnuts and almonds. It seems to me that the powdered sugar is the secret to the moister middle, is that true? Or perhaps its the melted butter. Either way looking forward to sampling these.

  7. Tim! They look gorgeous! Thank you so much for posting this:) I kept the recipe large, so they can be used as a vessel for ice cream sammies…and I like to share. In the hot days of summer, try them with the roasted banana ice cream. It’s like the best frozen, banana bread goodness you’ll ever have! XO

  8. Kir! How could I forget your other brilliant suggestion of turning these into ice cream sandwiches?! Yes, that sounds like the best idea. And the recipe for roasted banana ice cream sounds perfect.

  9. I’ve never been very into the idea of trying out financiers… until now! The way you described them sounds so great, I can’t wait to try them now. And after reading Kir’s comment, I am most definitely going to make them during the summer when I can sandwich them between some banana ice cream. Sounds heavenly! Thanks for sharing, Tim!

  10. …My new word for the day, “financiers”. ;o)

    …Thank you so much for this recipe and the photos alone are drool worthy. This will be bumped to the front as my next ‘must try’ recipe.

    …Enjoy your day! :o)


  11. These sound amazing and are on the “to do” list for the weekend….just wondering if they can be baked the day before or are they best served the day they are baked?

  12. Hi Kathy- they can definitely be baked the day before. There was something nice about eating them warm, but I actually think the flavor developed a little better overnight. Enjoy!

  13. HAHAHA– I will most certainly be calling these by the “occupation pronunciation” for kicks and also testing an almond version!

  14. These look gorgeous! I’m a financier freak – what a brilliant way to use up egg whites. I make a version with hazelnuts and buckwheat flour, that happens to be gluten-free: http://www.bojongourmet.com/2012/02/gluten-free-buckwheat-hazelnut-brown.html The buckwheat honey/nut/salt topping sounds amazing! LOVE the idea of adding cacao nibs, and baking them flat to turn into ice cream sandwiches – brilliant. The book looks amazing, too. Beautiful post. : )

  15. Wait!! How are you supposed to pronounce it?

  16. Love that first picture. I’ve never actually had a financier, but this looks like a great place to start. Are they sort of cake-ish in the middle? One of my favorite hazelnut cookies comes from Kim Boyce, and I’m excited to expand the repertoire!

  17. That book sounds wonderful – I’d love to get hold of a copy. And as for these financiers/hazelnibbies? They look absolutely delicious. Love love love the addition of crunchy cocoa nibs.

  18. I’ve never had a financier before but these look great. Would be a great dessert for a dinner party especially if they taste better the next day (anything to get ahead!). I’ll have to try them the suggested way but I think playing with different nut options and syrup flavorings would be great–maybe even a Rarebird curd or preserve reduction…Pear Vanilla Pinot Blanc anyone?!?

  19. These look so good and I also like the idea that they are not too thick. They look so delicate and full of good things!

  20. We used to make the traditional almond version of these at a Bakery I used to work at. We made them in mini muffin pans and pushed a raspberry in the centre before baking. Great little bites to have with your morning coffee! Love your pics!

  21. You had me at hazelnuts…but then when I saw the cocoa nibs my knees felt weak. These are beautiful and elegant. Gorgeous.

  22. Quite a compelling cookie! My attempts at loving cocoa nibs have been failures. This might be the recipe that changes my unrewarding endeavors. Stellar post!

  23. Love the name of these but love the sound of them even more as any sweet with hazelnuts is a winner in my book!

  24. Elizabeth says:

    April 22nd, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Hi. I just stumbled upon your blog. Thanks for making the world a little more beautiful.

  25. Did you somehow now I just spent most of the past week in the land of hazelnuts: Oregon?? (I’m bonkers for hazelnuts. They might be the perfect nut, though I do love almonds, too…)

  26. I’ve had the financiers at The Little Next Door! I live right by there. That place is painfully cute. These look awesome – hazelnuts? Yes! I’m in.

  27. Wow, I am happy I stumbled upon this blog! You have the exact career I DREAM of :) I’m adding you to my RSS feed now so I can look to your posts for inspiration. I have a long way to go before I’m a food writer or even a tiny baby step close to food photographer, but the goal is there, haha. Love your recipes too!

  28. Oh I can’t wait to get Kir’s book. As a Portlander I can attest to her exquisite concoctions and lovely character. And I can’t wait to make these. . . Thanks for posting.

  29. Tim, these look FANTASTIC! My whoopie pie pan is collecting dust and lying dormant ever since I made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from Baked Brooklyn– but that was, like, in October! This is just what I needed. And after reading the suggestion to make these into ice cream sandwiches(!!!), I swear, my head nearly exploded. Yes, I’m that excited. They are definitely being made this weekend. As always, awesome post and great pictures.

  30. Typo: at the end, you mean, “brush the vanilla syrup over the still warm FINANCIERS” rather than hazelnuts. This recipe looks terrific, thanks.

  31. There’s nothing better than raspberry financiers! These could even work with a few raspberries plopped into the batter, don’t you think?

  32. Looks delicious! Have you tried the vanilla raspberry financiers at Sugar Fixe in Oak Park? They seem to be a regular offering there. Delicious!

  33. Yum, these look so very very pretty!

  34. Wow! These look absolutely mouthwatering. I cannot get enough of hazelnuts!

  35. Just returned from Oregon and drove through all of the hazelnut groves there. They are so beautiful and something I had not seen before. I’ve been looking for ways to use hazelnuts now and these look really delicious. Thx.

  36. ilove hazelnut and the things made up of hazelnut.the ingredients of this recepie are really owesome

  37. There is a bakery down by Wall Street in NYC called Financier Patisserie! Double meanings! They also have very good Chai lattes :)

  38. Ah! That is brilliant, Jenni. Thanks for sharing.

  39. These look and sound delicious! I want to make them with packaged almond or pecan meal,(ground nuts). Any suggestions on how much I should use, in place of the 1 1/4 c toasted hazelnuts???

  40. These look amazing! Do you think they would work with GF flour?

What do you think?