Words and Photos by Fred Chang
Friands are small, French cakes made from almond meal and melted butter. Very similar to another popular cake but financier and lighter in flavor. These cakes are perfect for a cup of tea or for breakfast with jams, but they can also be eaten as snacks and even plated in desserts!
As stated, friands are traditionally made from almond meal or almond flour. However, this recipe instead utilizes semolina flour, which is a grainy, cornmeal like flour with a high gluten-content. That sort of grainy, sandy texture pairs beautifully with the light butter flavor, as well as the dark brown sugar used in the recipe itself.
If wanted, folding chopped berries or fruit through the batter can be done to add a fresh flavor that will compliment the semolina and sugar notes in the cakes. If fruit is added to the batter, the baking time should be increase by about 5 minutes; also, add no more than 1/4 cups of chopped fruit to the recipe below, or else the moisture content may keep the cakes from cooking properly.
1 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups brown sugar
3 egg whites
1 stick unsalted butter; melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line or oil a 12-hole muffin tin. Sift together the dry ingredients, and make a well. Lightly whip the egg whites and vanilla until frothy (soft peaks) and pour the whites and butter into the center of the well. Whisk together until just incorporated, and distribute into the muffin tins; roughly 3/4s the way full. Bake for 22 minutes and cool before removing