Today's JG's birthday, so I made a cupcake variant for his lab. At least one of the people in his group is the non-gluten type, so it seemed like a good time to practice GF-friendly baking. I considered one of the angel food variations, but ultimately decided to try something a little different.
This is a take on a French tea cake called a financier because they resemble gold bars. They use ground nuts and usually some flour; once I ground almonds and substituted cocoa powder, I was just a tablespoon of cinnamon away from Mexican chocolate... then baking them in a mini muffin pan turned them into pesos.
I did this the first time like a chiffon and whipped the whites. I tried it again without whipping and the difference in rise wasn't too significant and I only got one piece of equipment dirty, so I'm posting the easy version with a variation for over-achievers.
Recipe: GF Chocolate Pesos
(or Mexican chocolate financiers)
Yield: 2 dozen mini muffin-sized coins [possibly one 9-inch cake layer?]
You don't have to brown the butter, but it's part of the classic financier preparation and adds a nice caramel-nutty note. If you want to whip the whites separately, transfer the rest of the mix to a big bowl after step 2. Whip whites, and incorporate 1/3 at a time.
1/2 cup roasted almonds (or ~1/3 cup almond meal)
1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
4 tablespoons butter, browned and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg whites, room temp*
powdered sugar and/or sesame seeds to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350F. [You can set the mixing bowl with egg whites near the oven to warm, just check to make sure it doesn’t get too hot.] Line the bottom of whatever pan you’ll use with parchment paper, or use muffin cups.
2. Process almonds with other dry ingredients until no large chunks remain ~30 seconds. Add butter and vanilla and pulse until crumbly and evenly moist.
3. Whisk whites with a fork until foamy. Add to chocolate and process until evenly batter-like.
4. Pour into prepared pan, filling almost to the top. [Optional: sprinkle with sesame seeds and a little sugar to form a crust.] Bake ~20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
5. Cool until pan is no longer too hot to handle. Use a sharp knife to cut around the edges of the cakes and turn out. Dust with powdered sugar.
*I made mayo with leftover yolks:
2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup neutral oil (canola or non-extra-virgin olive)
Slowly whisk oil into yolks/acid. Start with a few drops at a time and gradually increase to a steady stream. Once emulsified, adjust salt and add pepper to taste.