I let out an audible “Oh, yay!” when I first received Mardi Michel’s delightful cookbook In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy. As I’ve mentioned a couple times on this blog, my older child is, as he reminds me often now, “Almost 3” and eager to help in the kitchen whenever possible. I’ve been looking for more recipes to try out with him, so this cookbook was truly a welcome delivery.
One of the things I appreciated most about In the French Kitchen with Kids is that it assumes kids are capable. There are recipes for quick croissants, creme caramel, eclairs, and steak frites — dishes one might not normally think of as “kid-friendly” but written up in a way that makes them very achievable for young people (with assistance). The book is thoughtfully well-written; the recipes are easy to follow and are peppered with historical tidbits and anecdotes to enhance the learning experience.
The first recipe we decided to make was financiers, or little almond cakes, because my son is currently very into muffin shapes and we had a few extra egg whites to use up. Buttery and nutty, financiers are the perfect little teatime treat and it’s all too easy to keep popping them into your mouth — they’re addictively delicious.
A couple of notes:
- Michels’ recipe calls for melted butter, but I went the extra step to brown the butter. I love the extra nuttiness it lends and it’s worth the extra couple of minutes to me. Incorporate the browned butter while it’s still a little warm; this makes it easier to fold into the other ingredients.
- I refrigerated the batter for a few hours after mixing because of time constraints (and I wanted to bake them off fresh for some guests). This isn’t necessary, but the batter does hold nicely in the fridge for a few days — it just might take a little longer to bake. My financiers took about 15 minutes to bake.
- The recipe yield is 24 mini muffins, but naturally it depends on the size of your tin. I used this Wilton mini muffin pan and got 15 cakes, using OXO cookie scoop to portion the batter.
From Mardi Michels’ In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy. Reprinted by permission.
Makes 15-24 mini muffin financiers (see notes, above)
- Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter
- 4 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (50 g) almond meal
- 1/3 cup (50 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional; my addition)
- Icing sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). If you are using a nonstick mini muffin pan you may not need to butter them, but otherwise generously butter the cups of the pan.
- Melt the butter either in a small pot on the stovetop over medium heat or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for about 1 minute. Set aside to cool. (Note: I browned the butter and let it cool until slightly warm.)
- Beat the egg whites until frothy with handheld electric beaters on high speed, 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, almond meal, flour and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold them in gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.
- Add the cooled, melted butter to the batter and use a rubber spatula to gently mix until the butter is completely incorporated. (Note: at this point, I refrigerated the batter for a couple of hours.)
- Divide the batter between the cups of the muffin pan. You can do this with a 1 1/2-tablespoon cookie scoop or a small spoon. Fill each cup almost to the top.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the center is slightly puffed and the edges are golden and slightly crispy and coming away from the pan. There may be cracks in the tops. That’s totally okay!
- Remove the financiers from the muffin pan immediately and allow to
cool on wire racks.
- Once they have cooled completely, sprinkle them with icing sugar to serve. These are best eaten the day they are made, although they can keep for a couple of days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Option: Raspberry financiers
- Just before you bake the financiers, cut 12 raspberries in half and place one half, cut side down, on top of each financier. Press down gently.