Lately I've been watching a lot of Nigella Express and other crave-worthy cooking shows. After watching any good cooking show, or reading a cook book or blog, I always come away with a new "to bake" recipe list. I watched Nigella explain how to make "chocolate cheat croissants" and was super excited at how easy they appeared to make. However, I realized I didn't have any puff pastry, and seeing it was late at night I was definitely not going to make my own pastry from scratch.
So, I continued looking through my cooking cupboard and noticed my friand tin. Inspiration came to me, and off I was scrambling around in the kitchen! As I whipped together the eggs and sugar, threw in some vanilla and stirred in a generous amount of almond meal and cocoa, I knew I was onto something yummy. The result was a chocolatey friand, with a soft interior and a chewy crusty outside - almost like a fluffy cake cross brownie. This, my friends, was a true experience of cooking creativity - I would describe it as incroyable. What can I say? Watching endless re-runs of Nigella Express and Masterchef certainly pays off.
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
110g almond meal
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
2 tbsp butter, melted (this is optional)
(+ optinal 12 chocolate melts, or other thin chocolate blocks)
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees fan-forced. Grease a friand tin extremely well. If not, your friands will stick very very easily. Beat eggs until they are well beaten and somewhat bubbly, perhaps 40 seconds. Beat in half of the sugar until combined and then the rest of the sugar. Add the vanilla essence and quickly beat again until combined. Place the almond meal and and sifted cocoa over the top of the sugar mixture. On low, combine these ingredients until smooth. Then pour the butter around the edge of the batter and quickly but gently mix in with a wooden spoon. Pour this batter 3/4 of the way into the friand tin. Pop your friands into the oven. Meanwhile lightly toss your chocolate melts in flour and tap off the excess flour. At around the 15 minute mark, when the batter is stiff enough to support the chocolate melt, insert the melt mid way. Continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes. Ensure they're done with a skewer, or the friands should be slightly shrunken away from the edge of the tin. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in friand tin, before turning out. Enjoy plain, or sprinkle with icing sugar, or it also goes deliciously with icecream.