Little Chocolate Friands with Candied Orange

Serves 30

These little cakes are moist, dense and almondy mouthfuls, flavoured with a touch of cocoa. A natural partner with a shot of espresso or maybe a couple to accompany a latte. The flavourings can be changed to include lemon zest and poppy seeds, swirls of pureed raspberry or finely diced apple.

Ingredients

6 free-range or organic egg whites

1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted

1/2 cup rice flour

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

1 cup almond meal

1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted

150 g butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the candied orange:

1 orange, washed, the zest removed

in a long strip

375 ml water

340 g caster sugar

Method

Soak zest in cold water for two hours. Remove and dry well. Julienne.

Blanch zest in 500 ml boiling water for 30 seconds. Repeat the

blanching/boiling process three times. Drain and set aside.

Place a small saucepan over high heat. Add the water and caster sugar,

and bring to the boil. Add the blanched orange zest to the sugar syrup

and simmer over low heat until the liquid disappears. Make sure the

sugar syrup does not caramelise. Remove and place on a wire rack to dry.

For the friands:

Preheat the oven to 170 °C and grease 3 x 12 mould mini muffin tins.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites until frothy and add the

icing sugar, rice flour, vanilla bean seeds, almond meal and cocoa powder.

Add the melted butter to the egg white mixture in a thin stream, stirring

gently to incorporate. Fill the muffin tins no more than two-thirds full

and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until firm to the touch. Remove from oven

and cool in tins for 5 minutes. Carefully turn out onto wire racks to cool

completely. Garnish each friand with some candied orange.