Sunday, 4 December 2011

How to Make Friands, Coconut cookies and Rhubarb & vanilla jam

It's 22.49 and I have just sat down for the first time since 14.00 this afternoon when I first walked into the kitchen. This feels almost like a full-time job! And even though my back hurts badly I feel quite content with what I managed to do in just one day. Plan one for this weekend was to make Friands. Friands are small, light and almond-y cakes which are originally French, however, they're very popular in Australia and they are served in cafes (a coffee and a Friand after some surfing - that's the life!). They are becoming very popular here too due to the fact that the best London cafes are actually Antipodean. You will always see a rack with Friands (pear, blueberry, banana, you name it) on the counter of hipster cafes.

It's strange how I hadn't made them so far - probably I hadn't realised how easy they are to make.
The only downside is that you need a Friand tray but Muffin trays (or silicone cups) work too although the shape will turn out slightly different than what it's meant to. This is what I did.

In addition to baking those little guys, I cleared, tidied and organised my pantry and now I can actually find things that I look for and get stuff from the back of the shelf without clumsily spilling stuff like flour in the process.

pantry looking neat

BUT, most importantly, today I made four different cookie doughs. I will not expand on this in this post as the three of them are still being chilled in the fridge and will stay there overnight getting ready to be baked tomorrow. After baking them, I will put them in pretty bags and give them away as edible Christmas gifts. More on this very shortly!

I did bake one batch of Coconut cookies though and lastly, as if the above were not enough, I made a jar of Rhubarb and vanilla jam.

First the Friands:

The recipe is Australian - I wanted to use one from the country that actually brought them back in fashion and where they are being done best. The fruit can be anything you like. I used blueberries.


Ingredients for 6:

100 gr butter
4 large egg whites (minimun egg weight 59 gr each)
45 gr plain flour (not self-rising)
140 gr icing sugar, plus some extra for dusting
85 gr almond meal (or almond powder or very finely ground almonds)
about 40 gr blueberries


Preheat the oven to 170 degrees fan-forced.

Grease the friand tray or muffin tray/cases.

Melt the butter and let aside to cool until lukewarm.

In a bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy (about one minute, no need to overdo it, this is not meringue).

Stir the flour, icing sugar and almond meal into the bowl with the egg whites. Stir until just combined.

Add the melted butter to the bowl and stir until just combined.

Divide the mixture evenly among the friand / muffin holes of the tray (or silicon cases). Add a few (5-6) blueberries in a cluster in the centre of each friand.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the friands are a light golden colour and spring back when lightly pressed. You can always check also by inserting a toothpick into the centre of the cake: if it comes out without any raw-looking batter, then it's ready.

Remove friands and leave to cool in a rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

The friands just out of the oven

The biscuits in the background are crunchy coconut cookies and if you'd like to make them go ahead - they are incredibly easy. You can either toast the coconut under the grill first (about 5-10 minutes until it turns golden and watch out as it can darken very quickly) or skip the toasting which is what I did on this occasion.

Coconut Cookies


1 cup desiccated coconut
140 g plain white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
85 g butter, at room temperature
90 g dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract


Preheat the oven at 160 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy (about 1 minute). Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts and mix until just blended. On low speed, add the flour mix and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the coconut.

Scoop a spoonful of dough for each cookie, make it into a ball and place on the baking sheet. With the wet back of a spoon flatten the ball into round cookies. You can also use another method: Put the whole dough between two pieces of wax paper and roll it out with a rolling pin. Remove the top piece of wax paper and use a cookie cutter to make the cookies. Lift the cookies off the paper and transfer to the parchment lined baking sheet. If you are having trouble lifting the cookies, place the dough in the fridge for a while until it firms up.

Bake until the edges and bottoms are lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Leave to cool before lifting them from the baking sheet.

Also in the picture: Rhubarb and vanilla jam.
Now, the usual way to make jam is to use fruit and sugar on a 1 to 1 ratio. This is the traditionally sweet, victorian jam. If you prefer it to be fruitier, reduce the sugar according to your taste. I personally feel that with this ratio the fruitiness is overshadowed by the sweetness so after a few experiments I have found that my preferred ratio is 1 (fruit) to just under 3/4 (sugar).

Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam


400 g rhubarb
250 g sugar
juice from one lemon
flesh from either one orange or two-three clementines.
One vanilla pod, split lengthwise.

Stir the first 4 ingredients in a pan under low heat. Scoop the seeds from the vanilla pod and stir in the pan both seeds and the pod.

Once the sugar is dissolved, raise to medium heat and bring to the boil. Once the jam has reached the rolling boiling point (the bubbles are big, staying longer and then bursting) remove from the heat and test. You can test if the jam is ready by scooping a spoonful on a cold plate (it's best to have it in the freezer before) and pushing the jam lightly with your finger. If it leaves a trail, it means it's set. If it's still liquid, boil a further few minutes and test again until it's set.

Remove the vanilla pod (at this point you can add some vanilla extract if you'd like) and pour the jam into sterilised jars.

Music playing in the background while I was making these:

Forrest Gump OST
Crazy Heart OST

many many times over and over

Mmm..tomorrow I'll have freshly-made jam to spread on my toast, not to mention friands for breakfast!

Good night everyone,


  1. mmmm.... they all look delicious!! :) I didn't know the Friands are so easy to make (or you make it sound easy :))!! But I think I'll give it a try! They look very nice for a Christmas table!!

  2. I just finished baking the coconut cookies!! Since I had all the ingredients in the house and the recipe seemed very easy :)!! I have to say they are delicious... we just had them with some English tea you brought us :)!! We already ate the first batch :P!! This is not good for the pre-Christmas diet :)!!!

  3. Really? I feel honoured! Plan diet is going towards disaster, we should come up with a plan B. How about pigging out and then spend a day fasting?
    You should definitely make the friands - they are indeed very easy and totally yummy!

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  5. Thumbs up for the coconut cookies!! :D And yes Evi, you should do the Friands... ;)