Beetroot and Hazelnut Financiers (GF)

French cooking is why I will never be a vegan. Not that I couldn't face life without meat, but because the thought of living without butter and eggs is absolutely unbearable. I can't imagine never again being able to whip up a batch of our new favorite beet financiers - crammed with as much butter as the rice, almond, and hazelnut flour will hold.
My favorite part about making these financiers is the way that each step fills the kitchen with a delightful new aroma. First, hazelnuts toasting over the stove produce that rich, distinctive hazelnut smell, which only intensifies as they are ground into a coarse flour. Butter sizzle and browns, emitting a caramelized nutty scent, the perfect complement to the smell of hazelnuts still lingering in the air. Add to that the deep earthy aroma of beets as they are blended into a smooth pinky-purple purée.
Scent layers upon scent, floating around the kitchen to create an impenetrable web of smells.
I used my recipe for orange financiers as a general guideline for these. I upped the quantity of flours to make up for the added moisture from the beet purée and substituted ground hazelnuts for a little less than half of the almond flour. The addition of hazelnut flour made for a subtler and more interesting flavor with slight earthy undertones from the beets. 

Beetroot and Hazelnut Financiers (GF)
Makes 9 small cakes (I made 6 cakes and 5 madeleines) 
     4 egg whites (about 120-125 g)
     125 g granulated sugar
     30 g whole hazelnuts to yield 20 g ground hazelnuts
     40 g almond flour
     65 g sweet white rice flour
     3 tbsp beet purée 
     150 g butter
Cut the butter into cubes and place it in a small pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it turns brown. The top of the butter will become foamy and it will smell distinctively nutty. Strain the butter and set it aside to cool. 
Measure out the whole hazelnuts and toast them gently in a pan over medium heat for up to 10 minutes, stirring frequently and watching them to make sure they don't burn. They should turn a nice golden brown and smell nice.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts as finely as possible. Over pulsing will produce a kind of hazelnut-butter though, so be careful not to let them go too long. Toast the ground hazelnuts in the oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for 6 minutes and then sift out 20 g. Add the 20 g of hazelnut flour to the almond flour and toast them together in the oven for 5 minutes.
Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a stand mixer and then add the almond, hazelnut, and white rice flours. Add the butter and beat purée and whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. 
When the batter has chilled, heat the oven to 350˚F and grease your tins - the fluted cakes in the pictures above were made using little brioche tins, but muffin tins would work just as well. I only had 6 brioche tins so I used a madeleine pan to make 5 madeleines out of the remaining batter.
Fill each tin about 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20 minutes until the cakes are golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow them to cool slightly before flipping them out of the molds onto a cooling rack. 


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