They’re little French cakes. Some people refer to them as cookies, even pastries, but the reality is they’re just little tiny almond cakes, frequently served with small scoops of ice cream and/or fruit. They can be round, oval-shaped or square, but the traditional shape is rectangular sort of like a gold bar. And indeed, some people theorize that it’s the gold bar shape that earned them the name financier.
Like madeleines, they’re a basic of the pastry world, and as such they don’t generate much excitement in some circles. However like simple madeleines they are considered the measure of baker. Thus it’s not unusual for pastry chefs on the Continent to spend years perfecting them. I plan on a few days myself, but does that necessarily make me a shallow person? Yes…yes it does.