Peanut Butter Tea Cakes

Soft brown-butter financiers, a French treat, get a Southern boost with peanuts

Photo: Matthew Septimus

photo: Matthew Septimus
Rose Levy Beranbaum.

“Peanuts happen to be my favorite nut,” says the baker Rose Levy Beranbaum, winner of multiple James Beard Awards and author of the new cookbook The Cookie Bible. “I was once given a tour of the peanut growing areas in Georgia, so the peanut butter financiers will be my special gift to Southerners.”

Financiers are soft French sweets—like a cross between a cookie and a cake—usually made with almonds and brown butter. “Christophe Toury comes from Chartres, France, and he started his career as a pastry chef and chocolatier at the Ritz in Paris,” Beranbaum explains about the origin of the recipe in her cookbook. “Although Europeans seem to prefer praline paste (which is fine to substitute for the peanut butter here), Chris created this peanut butter financier for his appreciative American clientele.” 

Tip: Read through carefully all the way through before beginning. Beranbaum is a pro, and these instructions are quite detailed.


  • PEANUT BUTTER FINANCIERS (Yield: 16 financiers)

    • ½ cup egg whites (approx. 4 large egg whites)

    • ¾ cup sliced almonds, preferably unblanched

    • 12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter

    • 1⅔ cups, minus 1 tsp., powdered sugar (sifted, then lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off)

    • ½ cup, minus 1 tsp., bleached all-purpose flour

    • 3 tbsp. smooth peanut butter


  1. Thirty minutes to 1 hour ahead, into a 1-cup glass measure with a spout, measure the egg whites. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set on the counter.

  2. Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the middle level. Set the oven at 325°F to toast the almonds.

  3. Toast the almonds: Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes, or until pale golden. Stir once or twice to ensure even browning. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack and cool completely.

  4. Raise the oven temperature to 375° to bake the financiers.

  5. Clarify and brown the butter: Have ready by the cooktop a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a 2-cup glass measure with a spout, and a 1-cup glass measure with a spout. In a medium heavy saucepan, melt the butter over very low heat, stirring often with a light-colored silicone spatula. Raise the heat to low and boil, stirring constantly, until the milk solids on the spatula become little brown specks. (An instant-read thermometer should read between 278° and 284°F.) Immediately pour the butter through the strainer into the glass measure. Into the 1-cup glass measure, pour ½ cup of the clarified browned butter. Set it in a warm place so it stays hot, or reheat it when ready to add it to the batter. (Store the browned solids and extra browned butter for another use—the browned butter solids make a great addition to bread dough or a baked potato.)

  6. Make the batter: In a food processor, process the toasted almonds with the powdered sugar until powder fine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour and process until evenly incorporated. (Alternatively, grind the almonds in a spice mill with a little of the powdered sugar, and then whisk them together with the remaining sugar, or use a rotary nut grinder, and whisk them together with the powdered sugar.)

  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed just until foamy.

  8. Add the almond mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  9. On medium-low speed, very slowly drizzle in the hot clarified browned butter. It should take about 5 minutes to add all of it; the batter will emulsify to a smooth golden cream.

  10. Add the peanut butter and mix for a few seconds, just until evenly incorporated.

  11. Fill the molds: Fill a prepared pastry bag with the mixture and use it to fill each cavity about two-thirds full; or use a spoon to fill the cavities.

  12. Bake: If using silicone financiers mold(s), set them on a rack and then on a half sheet pan(s) or cookie sheet(s). Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan(s) or metal molds halfway around. Continue baking for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the financiers spring back when pressed lightly in the centers.

  13. Unmold and cool: If using silicone mold(s), set them on a wire rack and cool completely. To unmold, push out each financier with your finger pressed against the bottom of the mold. If using metal mold(s), set on a wire rack and let the financiers cool for 5 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the mold(s) and the financiers, pressing firmly against the molds. Invert them onto the wire rack and then reinvert them onto another wire rack. Cool completely.

  14. Store airtight at room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 5 days; frozen, 3 months. To reheat frozen financiers, thaw in the refrigerator and re-crisp in a preheated 350°F oven for about 3 minutes.

Reprinted from The Cookie Bible by arrangement with Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright © 2022, Rose Levy Beranbaum.