Nocciola is Italian for hazelnut

by April on November 19, 2011

Ciao, amici! I’m back from two weeks in Europe (Italy and Spain) and excited to share what I ate along the way. But with more than 2,000 photos to process, it’s taking some time.

Until I get my act together, I have to share these chocolate and hazelnut financiers from my favorite food blog, La Tartine Gourmande. (Just go ahead and subscribe or bookmark that site right now. Promise you won’t regret it.)

These are gluten-free and low in sugar, which, gasp! That sounds nothing like anything that bakes in my oven! Here’s the thing: For two weeks I ate and drank more than my body could handle. Wine at lunch and dinner? Why not! Dessert after every meal? Of course! Pastries for breakfast? Like there was another option! (No, really, there wasn’t another option.) I don’t regret any of it. Nope, not one scoop of gelato. But once I got home, I needed a detox, so I’ve been avoiding starchy carbs and sugar for more than a week now.

Although I feel great, the problem is that I need to bake! When I saw Béa’s recipe for gluten-free chocolate-hazelnut financiers (like sponge cake, often made with almond meal), I knew it was time. And with hazelnut meal and chocolate, these would satisfy my new addiction to nocciola, or hazelnut. You see, Nutella is like crack cocaine to me. There’s been more than one jar that entered the house and was consumed entirely by yours truly, before Luis could even get a spoonful. Then, in Italy, I ordered a scoop of dark chocolate gelato and took a chance on an unknown word for my second scoop: nocciola. One bite and I knew what I’d discovered. And then I ate it at every opportunity.

These financiers aren’t nearly as sweet as Nutella — kind of a good thing. I also used coconut sugar, lower on the glycemic index, in place of turbinado sugar. All of the hazelnut and cocoa goodness, however, is still present, which I now know are the best parts anyway.

(If you want more hazelnutty, chocolatey, sugary goodness, you can add Nutella as a frosting, a tempting suggestion Luis thought of mid-bite.) Recipe after the jump!

Chocolate-hazelnut financiers

Makes about 6 cupcake-sized financiers.

You’ll need:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup hazelnut meal
  • 2 tablespoons amaranth flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 large egg whites (beat with a fork until lightly foamy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and have 6 cupcake molds prepared (either grease with butter or use cupcake papers).
  2. In a small pot, melt the butter and cook until browned (careful not to burn). Let butter cool slightly.
  3. In a food processor, toss in the hazelnut meal, amaranth flour, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar. Pulse to a fine powder. Transfer to a large bowl and beat in the egg whites.
  4. Pour the butter into the egg and flour mixture and quickly stir.
  5. Add the vanilla and mix until just combined.
  6. Divide batter among the molds and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool, and serve!
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