These muffin-shaped cookies use ground almonds, browned butter and egg whites, much like the French pastries, financiers. With this recipe, I place a whole cherry into the center of each tea cake before baking.
Tea cakes are the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee or afternoon tea. This recipe uses browned butter–you actually cook butter until it darkens in color, intensifying the flavor. The tea cakes’ crispy, almost-caramelised exterior yields to the sweet and nutty center and whole-baked cherry with each bite. Plus, these are small enough to enjoy guilt-free.
Making these adorable, delectable tiny treats is simple. You don’t need any fancy equipment–just a whisk and a 24-cup muffin tin. First, you butter and flour the muffin tin. Don’t use muffin cups because these aren’t muffins! Plus, you want the edges to get a little crispy, which won’t happen if you use muffin cups. Next, melt the butter in a pot and swirl it around until it starts to brown. Skim the foam off of the top and pour the butter into a bowl, leaving the browned sediments behind.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Then, whisk in the egg whites. Once combined, whisk in the brandy and browned butter. Let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, then sink a cherry into each tin. Bake until they are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool in their tin on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Run a butter knife along the edges of each tin to loosen the tea cakes and remove them from the tin. Allow them to cool completely. Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days.
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more for the muffin tin)
- 1 cup all purpose flour (plus more for the muffin tin)
- 1 cup almond meal (almond flour)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cherry brandy
- 30 fresh cherries, stems in tact
- Prepare a 24-cup muffin tin by greasing with butter, then dusting with flour. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400F.
- Prepare browned butter by adding the 1¼ stick of unsalted butter to a small pot. Heat on low. Once the butter melts, swirl it around the pot occasionally, until it starts to brown. Once it starts to brown, remove the pot from the heat and use a spoon to skim the foam off of the top. Pour the melted butter into a small bowl, leaving the accumulated sediment behind.
- Combine the flour, almond meal, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the egg whites. Whisk until combined. Add the brandy and browned butter. Whisk until combined. Allow the batter to rest for 20 minutes.
- Scoop a little more than a tablespoon into each tin. (The recipe makes 30 tea cakes, so if you are using a 24-cup muffin tin, you will have some batter left over). Place a cherry in the center of each cup.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Use a butter knife to carefully loosen the sides of each tea cake. Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to two days.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.