Skip the text and click here to head straight to the cranberry chestnut financiers recipe. This is a gluten-free financiers recipe.
The first week of 2017, I felt paralyzed. I hid behind accounting and computer work for an entire week. Don’t get me wrong, this was work that had to be done. There’s no avoiding the accounting part when you are running a business. You have to “close the books” for the previous year and get organized for tax season. Better sooner than later. I avoided the kitchen. I organized my computer’s hard drive, trying to improve the hierarchy of files and folders that I’ve created, and trying to clear out all the old files that I shouldn’t be
The oven was on lockdown during that time. I didn’t bake a single thing the first two weeks of January, not even a birthday cake to celebrate my 35th, which is something I’ve done for myself for years and years. Instead, I ate leftover Christmas cookies like it was my life’s mission to eat them all, like eating was all I could manage. It’s funny because I’ve been blogging for over 6 years now. I’m no stranger to starting fresh at the beginning of the year. Still, it scares the bejeezus out of me. Some years, I already have projects lined up. Some years, I don’t. Every year, I worry about if I will manage to do better and pave a path so that things run more smoothly, instead of ploughing forward on a very bumpy road without much control. 2017 appeared in front of me like it was an impossibly tall mountain that I wasn’t sure I was ready to climb or equipped to face. I want 2017 to be better, the way I had high hopes for 2016.
The second week of January, I had a work gig that had me travelling to Toronto for the last half of the week. So “my work week” got cut in half because the last half was dedicated to a different project and separate work. Still work, but not quite the same. The oven stayed off. I continued to avoid the kitchen and my baking notebook completely. And the longer I stayed away, the more stressed I became because I felt like I was taking too long to get in the swing of things. I wondered what exactly I was waiting for. I felt like every day I didn’t turn on the oven was filled with a million excuses.
This week, I finally felt like I was ready to begin. I woke up and preheated my oven to 350ºF. I wrote out a recipe in my notebook and I started baking. It’s a late start, since we are now the 3rd week of January already, but it’s a start. Now the first recipe is under my belt.
I have a rough idea of the next two things that I want to do next week, and I have a few projects lined up for the weeks after. Yes, it took me two weeks of stress eating and organizing to get here, but now I have a list with a purpose and items to check off as I go down the list and move forward with intent. And even though it took two full weeks to get going, I now feel infinitely more prepared than I did the first week of January.
The two weeks I took to close 2016 and open 2017 gave me time to realize a few things that are different this year. I feel infinitely more professional and I think it takes a long time to get to that place. I realized that I do have a system in place, on my computer, in my work, and it is more organized than I thought. I am more comfortable with my value and my work. I know what I am worth and what I am not worth. I know what to charge for a day of work, or an hour, or even a few different projects. I am getting better at pitching and I have a much more complete picture of what exactly I have to offer. I honestly used to feel like I had nothing to offer, as terrible as that sounds. Now I know that is far from true.
In 2017, I hope to work better, not harder. I always work hard, but I need to learn to work more efficiently with the time I have so that I can have a better defined work-life balance. There needs to be an end to the work day and there needs to be downtime. That is something that sleep therapy taught me last year. I literally broke from working inefficiently all day long and then trying to compensate by working into the wee hours of the night.
In 2017, I also have to be kinder to myself. If I need to take a time-out to mull over things, to get set up, to feel comfortable about a situation, that’s okay. I can have a time-out and I have to tell myself that the defined period of timeout is necessary and part of the process. But I must give myself a limit on that time-out. And when that time is up, I need to get up off the floor and I need to set the oven on to 350ºF and get started.
A few notes about the recipe
I decided to kick off 2017 with these cranberry chestnut financiers because financiers are one of the easiest treats you can make. Financiers are like mini pound cakes, denser than a muffin, but in a good way. Financiers are made from a combination of finely ground nuts, all-purpose flour, and sugar, bound together with brown butter and egg whites. You don’t use a mixer to make these. They are THAT easy.
I opted for chestnut flour because chestnut gives such an interesting flavour to baked goods. It’s so difficult to pinpoint and describe the flavour of chestnut. Is it nutty? Yes. But it has a richer flavour, reminiscent of cocoa. Sweet baked goods with chestnut flour make me think of molasses or caramel, with coffee notes, especially if you eat these financiers two days after you baked them. You can swap out the chestnut flour for something else. This recipe works with good old all-purpose flour, cup-for-cup (or better yet, gram-for-gram). I’ve even made financiers with rice flour.
These chestnut financiers are gluten-free, so I tested out sorghum flour to prepare the pan. That worked well, even with the pretty vintage pan I used. I had zero issues getting the financiers out of the pan. Obviously, while worrying about the new year and a million other things, I also worried about the cakes getting stuck to the pan. Crisis averted! Now that I’ve made this first recipe, I am ready to embrace 2017.
Cranberry chestnut financiers recipe
Cranberry chestnut financiers
Financiers are gluten-free and easy to make. These financiers are made with chestnut flour and frozen cranberries.
- 115 grams unsalted butter 1/2 cup, plus more for greasing pan
- 100 grams granulated sugar 1/2 cup
- 63 grams chestnut flour 1/2 cup
- 63 grams ground almond 3/4 cup
- 90 grams egg whites from 3 large eggs, approximately
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 48 frozen cranberries do not thaw!
- Sorghum flour for dusting greased pans.
- Brown the butter in a small saucepan. Turn off the heat when the butter smells very nutty and the milk solids have browned. Set aside the pan to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar with the chestnut flour and the ground almond.
- In a separate medium bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until they are frothy and quite thick.
- Pour the egg whites over the dry ingredients and whisk them in, then add the vanilla and the browned butter and stir to incorporate everything together really well.
- Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter 16 wells of a mini-muffin pan and flour them with sorghum flour, tapping out the excess. Make sure that the sides and bottoms of the muffin wells are evenly coated.
- Divide the batter between the 16 wells of the pan, and top with 2 to 3 frozen cranberries, pressing them down slightly.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until the edges begin to brown.
- Let cool 5 to 10 minutes so that the financiers firm up before unmolding them onto a wire rack to cool completely.