Special people deserve special treats. My son’s godmother and my best friend in this whole wide world celebrated her birthday this week. Usually I’m never in town on her birthday, but this time around I got lucky. It’s amazing how time flies when you are in the company of the people you simply adore … priceless moments. Since I’ve had very few chances to cook for my darling friend, I knew instantly I had to bake for her this birthday. She’s intolerant to dairy and doesn’t eat store bought stuff. All the more reason to make something special for her. I opted for my all time favourite financiers aka friands ‘cuz they just always turn out so good. I’ve previously made them here and here . This time around I decided to do a non-dairy chocolate version topped with a non dairy ganache (taken from David Lebovitz) and sprinkled with a Roasted Almond brittle coated with chocolate. I think they all worked so magically together … The soft, moist, delicate and not so sweet cake with a rich chocolate ganache topped with a crackling and crunchy chocolate coated roasted almonds in caramel. It was a big winner .
100 gms margarine/butter
100 gms grated dark chocolate grated
140 gms icing sugar
25 gms plain flour
85 gms ground almonds
3 large egg whites
The Ganache frosting
10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup water
¾ cup margarine/butter
Roasted Almond in Caramel coated with chocolate – Topping
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon margarine/butter
2 cups roasted almonds slivered
1 cup chopped dark chocolate
Start with making the chocolate coated almonds in caramel first . You could even start a day ahead. Melt the sugar in a pot . Stir continuously and when it all melts, with the colour starting to change and turns a rich amber colour, slip in the butter mixing it well. Add the roasted almonds. The almonds should be way more and the caramel just enough to coat it. Take off the heat and pour it out on a greased surface or marble slab. Quickly with a rolling pin, flatten it out and let it cool. Now melt the chocolate in another pot and coat the brittle in the chocolate, making a thick coating and place it on greaseproof paper and let it set. Then finely chop these up making thin chards and save them for later.
For the Financiers , preheat oven to 180C. Melt the margarine in a microwave and keep aside. Sift the icing sugar and flour in a bowl. Stir in the ground almonds and grated chocolate. Whisk the egg whites to soft peak stage and fold them into the dry mixture. Now pour in the butter and mix gently, incorporating everything together. Pour into greased financier tins or cupcake moulds until they are 3/4th full. Bake for 15 mins. Don’t overbake them, they need to be moist within. Let them cool. To make the frosting melt the chopped chocolate with the water in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water. Add the margarine and whisk them into the chocolate until completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Cool until spreadable, which may take about 1 hour at room temperature or just chuck it in the freezer till its set. Then scoop out and put it in a piping bag with a star nozzle. Pipe onto the cupcakes and generously sprinkle with the chocolate almond topping. Tastes best at room temperature.