I may have mentioned, a time or two (I’m getting old…you know how old people repeat themselves…), that I did a bit of traveling at the beginning of this year. In January I was in China, February was spent warming up a bit in Australia (and hanging out with fellow food friend Jeroxie as well as my long time buds Leann and Marc) and March was spent in Europe – specifically in Amsterdam and Paris.
Craig and I haven’t been to Paris since our desperately (3 years) belated honeymoon in 2002. I don’t remember much about that trip because I had been in a car accident 2 days before we left and was pretty jacked up on anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers and pain meds. I certainly didn’t need anything the Amsterdam coffee shops had to offer. My own personal pharmacy was much more potent.
This most recent trip was about as perfect as they come (I’ll elaborate in future posts about the difference between normal people souvenirs and food people souvenirs – all I’ll say at this point is it involves a copper pot that weighs about 5 pounds.) And one of the best things I got to do, while in Paris, aside from eating enough duck confit to make me completely waterproof when I’m in the water, was to take a pastry class.
The class took place in an area called Montmartre, not far from the famed Sacre Coeur – and yes, the class was conducted in English (which is a very good thing because my French is seriously lacking). The cooking school is Cook’nWithClass and made for a fantastic afternoon. There were 6 of us in class with varying degrees of cooking skills. We learned how to make the perfect creme brulee, chocolate eclairs, pastry creme and pistachio financiers. We got to eat every thing that we cooked and could even take some of our goodies back to our hotels with us. I learned many little tricks throughout the class that I am using in my day to day cooking.
One of my favorite things from the class was making (and eating) the pistachio financiers. These little morsels of heaven have a bit of an identity crisis in that they aren’t really sure if they’re cookies or little cakes. Out of everything that I brought back to our room, these were the things that Craig inhaled the most of (mind you, we already had a room full of lovely chocolates from all over the city). The crispy edges and soft cake-like interior of the financiers and their diminutive size reminds me of eating muffing tops – maybe that’s why I like them so much. I just can’t decide…but whatever it is they’re delicious!
I have swapped out the pistachio paste from the original recipe, as I don’t keep it around (although I might since I’ve since found other uses for it) and replaced it with matcha powder, made into a paste (green tea powder).
Aphrodisiac: An agent (as a food or drug) that arouses or is held to arouse sexual desire; something that excites
Thought I’d give the Merriam-Webster definition of the term just in case the word hasn’t been pounded into your head every Valentine’s day since you were in utero.
Browsing around the interweb, you come across a multitude of foods that are suggested to be aphrodisiacs. Of course, non of these foods really plays well enough with one another to make the be-all end-all seduction meal. You’re pretty much left to your own devices to piece together some kind of meal that includes one or two of the love inducing foods. But according to several lists, these are a 5 of the biggies.
Almonds – which means these cookies should give you all the sexual mojo of horny goat weed.
Champagne – because of the carbonation, the alcohol hits you a lot faster so you loosen up quicker (that came right from a Dr. in Woman’s Day – seriously) So drink up ladies. You’ll either be so liquored up you’ll spread your legs willingly or he’ll look so good after you polish off a bottle of bubbly you’ll be willing to bang him because now he looks like George Clooney (how did you not see that before?).
Oysters – If you can suck down a couple of these bad boys, the zinc that’s found in them is supposed to help up your levels of testosterone – causing you to want more sex. Either that or if you eat too many of them the testosterone will give you a 5 o’clock shadow faster than your date can grow his own.
Bananas – Gwen Stefani didn’t make B-A-N-A-N-A-S sexy with her song and about the only way you can use a banana as an aphrodisiac is if you are able to seductively deepthroat that banana in front of your guy without gagging, drooling or breaking it off in the process.
Chocolate – This is the supposedly the aphrodisiac of all aphrodisiacs. It is thought to increase your levels of serotonin which makes you feel relaxed and satisfied. But if you eat a lot of chocolate, that’s not followed by sex, is that considered masturbation?
Makes Approximately 30 Financiers
- 6 Ounces Ground Almonds (or almond meal)
- 6 Ounces All Purpose Flour
- 12 Ounces Sugar
- 1 Pinch of Kosher Salt
- 6 Ounces Room Temperature Unsalted Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Matcha Powder Paste (use 2 tablespoons matcha powder mixed with a few drops of water stir to form paste)
- 1 Ounce Dark Rum
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract or Seeds From 1 Vanilla Pod
- 6 Ounces Egg Whites (roughly 6 eggs)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
Prepare small baking pans by coating with butter then dusting with flour. (I used a mini brownie pan and mini muffin pan)
In a mixing bowl add ground almonds, flour, sugar and salt. Using either a stand or hand mixer, mix ingredients to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Keep mixing at a low speed until mixture resembles wet sand.
In a separate bowl, add rum and vanilla to the egg whites. Beat with a whisk until mixture is slightly frothy. Set aside
Add matcha powder paste to the mixing bowl, keep mixing until paste is thoroughly combined. Add the egg with mixture and mix on medium speed until batter is smooth.
Transfer batter into a piping bag (I use a 1 gallon plastic bag with the corner snipped off) and fill the baking pans with batter. For mini muffin tin, only fill 2/3 full.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Top should be lightly golden brown with the edges being slightly darker golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the financier should come out clean.
Let cool before removing from baking pan.
*Please note: the baking times may be slightly longer if you are using silicone pans and not metal pans.