Boysenberry-Brown Butter Financiers

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

-Garrett McCord vs. The World. And does so armed only with baked goods.-

So far this has been one of those weeks where it feels like the universe is against me, where every major celestial body in my life is aligning into a constellational "Screw you." It's quite awesome really. One might find some sort of value in that much attention. I guess I should feel special.

This is a stark comparison to last week where everything seemed to be going so well. Yet within a short time span life suddenly began to suck. This then proves just how cyclical life can be; luck changes in an instant with dizzying and unpredictable speed. Right now, I just happen to be on one of those major downswings. (Seriously, like a greased up razor-lined water slide, this week.)

I know that everything will eventually turn around, I just have to be patient and proactive in changing things for the better. So, in the meantime, I try not to funk myself out too hard. I've always been one of those solve-your-own-problem kind of guys and do my best to reassure my own stormy thoughts rather than hoping happiness will simply drop in my lap. I do this through reading a good book, snuggling with the cats, maybe taking a night out in the middle of the week to meet friends for a movie, and cocktails are always a welcome pick-me-up. However, more often than not, I'll resort to baking.

-It turns out that boysenberries, at least to me, are pretty much the same as blackberries. (Maybe I just got some bad ones?)-

I decided to start flipping through some of my baking cookbooks. Realizing that David Lebovitz's new book was still sitting on my shelf unused I picked it up and started looking for something that would sparkle, something that would brighten my mood, and something foolproof as any slip-up would probably tip me over the edge.

David's blackberry - brown butter financier recipe was the perfect candidate. Requiring just a few minutes with a food processor I was able to pop together a simple tea cake with the nutty taste of brown butter. While I had no blackberries I did have a few baskets of boysenberries that I had procured at the market. (I had picked them up to see if there was really a difference between the two. In my opinion, not really).

The cakes, thank god, turned out perfectly. Simple and bright - just what I needed.

The week still has a few days to go and so far things haven't really turned around yet. Still, when eating my cute cakes things, for a moment, seem a bit better.

Boysenberry-Brown Butter Financiers
Adapted from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert

7 tablespoons of butter
140 grams of almond flour
100 grams of sugar
70 grams of powdered sugar
45 grams of all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
6 ounces of boysenberries

1. Preheat an oven to 400F and butter a 12-slot muffin tin.

2. In a saucepan melt the butter over low heat. The butter will crackle and sizzle a bit. Continue to cook until the butter turns amber-colored. This will happen quickly and the butter can go from browned to burnt in a second so keep a close eye on it.

3. In a food processor or blender mix together the almond flour, sugars, flour, and salt. With the motor running add the extracts and egg whites. Pour in the warm brown butter through a wire strainer to keep out the blackened, burnt butter solids at the bottom of the saucepan. Mix until smooth.

4. Divide the batter evenly amongst the muffin slots. Press a few boysenberries into each cup. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. let cool for 10 minutes, then tip the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.

-Here's to better weeks.-


  1. I teach cooking lessons to kids and have to tell you, you can't spend two hours in the kitchen listening to their stories and banter and still feel down. Gather up some young ones and help them learn your talents - you'll feel better and they'll have a blast!

  2. I hope things go better soon. I just got back from traveling and have this yearning to sit at home and just cook so I can feel normal again... unfortunately life didn't stop for everyone while I was away so there are lots of plans for the weekend! Maybe I'll just be "sick" and try this instead. Browned butter is my new favorite trick.

  3. I do the same thing with baking. It is definitely not a cure-all, but I think it helps to create something that makes people happy. To take flour and fruit, and turn them into something beautiful, makes the day a bit brighter.

    Here's to next week!

  4. Is it a bad moon phase or what? Seems like a lot of us are in a downswing lately. I'm just starting to come out of mine (fingers crossed). Baking makes me feel better, too. I think it's the sense of order. When my life is spiraling out of control, I know I can measure cups of flour and spoonfuls of sugar into something delicious with(relatively) predictable results.


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