Why This Recipe Works
by Sasha Marx
Financiers are a French petit-four cake (petit-four literally translates to “small oven” and refers to bite-sized baked items which can be sweet or savory), traditionally made with brown butter and almond flour. They have awesome contrasting textures—crisp and chewy at the edges, and decadently soft and moist at the center—along with nutty flavor from the browned butter and almonds. Adding chocolate to the mix makes for a next-level brownie that we can’t get enough of. This version is an adaptation of a Thomas Keller recipe that calls for both bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cacao) and unsweetened chocolate (100 percent cacao) along with cocoa powder.
We wanted intense chocolate flavor so we ditched the bittersweet chocolate and went up on the unsweetened. We also added a little instant espresso powder, which amplifies chocolate flavor. These tweaks muted the flavor of the brown butter and we were unable to distinguish between versions made with plain melted butter and brown butter in side-by-side tests. So, we ditched the browning step and made an already simple, elegant dessert even easier.
Once you’ve made these financiers, use them in a little experiment to experience for yourself how the flavor of food can change under the influence of music. Take a bite while listening to the first sound clip from composer Ben Houge. Then take a short break, a sip of water, and listen to the second sound clip while taking another bite. Think about how the flavor changes and enjoy eating chocolate financiers in the name of science. We encourage repeating the experiment to validate your data.