Monday, 14 December 2009

Florentines: A Christmas Treat

We were wandering through the supermarket a few days ago when my husband spotted some florentines, and commented how much he likes them.

"I can make those," I said, with absolute confidence.

It was only later that I realised I'd never made them before, and by then, I'd already steered Andy round to the Home Baking aisle to pick up flaked almonds, and cherries, and candied peel. We were at the checkout before I realised I had no idea what I was going to stick them together with.

Now, when I want a recipe for something baking-ish (where proportions matter!), I generally turn to the internet before my many recipe books. I really want Google to invent a new type of recipe search engine, where it scours the internet for all instances of a particular dish and then works out the ideal proportions of the ingredients, across the whole internet. But until then, I do a small-scale, manual version myself, reading a large number of related recipes and trying to find a sort of middle-ground. This is the result of that process.


Florentines are a classic Christmastime treat in my home alongside mince pies and lebkuchen... and now, I'll never need to buy them again.

Makes 16 biscuits

100g flaked almonds
50g candied peel
25g glace cherries
25g raisins
50g butter
50g caster sugar
50g plain flour
2tsp golden syrup
2tsp double cream
100-150g chocolate for melting (I used milk chocolate this time)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper (or use a silicone baking sheet).

  2. Chop the cherries into quarters, and mix the almonds, cherries, raisins and candied peel together in a bowl.

    Dried Fruit

  3. Melt the butter, sugar and flour together in a small saucepan, over a very low heat, stirring constantly.

  4. Once the butter has fully melted, ensure the flour and sugar are fully mixed in, then add the syrup and stir through.

  5. Remove from the heat and stir the cream through the mixture. You should end up with a very thick, homogenous liquid.

  6. Add the almonds and fruit, and mix thoroughly.

  7. Use a teaspoon to scoop out small balls of the mixture, and space evenly around the baking sheets, leaving about an inch around each one for spreading. Flatten each biscuit slightly.

  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown (any longer, as I found out with my second batch, and they will spread further to become rather too crispy). Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

    Florentines cooling

  9. Melt the chocolate according to your favourite method (I have a special chocolate-melting machine, but in a bowl over a pan of boiling water works fine, too).

  10. Spoon a little chocolate onto the flat side of each florentine, and spread it around to cover the biscuit. Refrigerate to speed up the setting of the chocolate.

    Adding chocolate to florentines

If you want to show off:

I was primarily making these for myself (and my husband, obviously), so I did them quite quickly. If you want to show off, you may want to ensure the florentines are round by pushing the raw mixture into the base of muffin tins. You may also want to draw pretty patterns in the chocolate with a fork, or use a mixture of different types of chocolate (plain, milk, and white are all lovely with florentines).

I'm submitting this recipe to Food Blogga's 3rd Eat Christmas Cookies event - see here for the rules and here for the roundup which is absolutely stuffed with amazing recipes for sugary Christmas goodies


Chef E said...

Yum Rachel! I am venturing into making Danish Braid Pastries, wish me is fun when you discover that there is so much joy in creating your own goodies for the one you love...then somehow they just expect it, LOL, so watch out!

Although I think Robert told you how he enjoys returning from trips to my cooking, rather than eating out...

Heidi Ashworth said...

Looks delicious!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

I think you got it sister! I want them - I'm sure your husband was more than satisfied!

Victoria Plum said...

Wow!!! They look fab! I love Florentines but have never thought to make my own .....

Menopausal New Mom said...

Those look delicious! Wow! When you set your mind to baking something, you're not kidding around. So when are you going to start that recipe search site?!

What A Card said...

Mmmm, looks yummy! I've never heard of these types of cookies here in the states, though it sounds like I've been missing out!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello!

Jen said...

Those look delicious!

Anonymous said...

Don't those look good!

Ann On and On... said...

Yummm, they look good!

Welcome to SITS! I'm hosting a giveaway for a Hamilton Beach 3 cup chopper....come on over. Comment that you are from SITS and get an extra entry.

Fly Girl said...

Quite Impressive! I enjoy any kind of holiday dessert but this looks too complex for me to bake. I'd rather take the easy route and buy them!

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Oooh, these are some of the greatest things known to humanity! I adore them. Lovely stuff!

I was even able to find some in the States a while back, but I think they were called something different.

Dave King said...

Sounds good, look good. I'm salivating!

Anonymous said...

Looks and sounds amazing. I do admire those that can bake and cook! :0)

Thanks for linking up at my Follow Me Linky. I'm now your blog follower No. 97. You will make 100 by Christmas!

melissa said...

Looks so good thanks for visiting my site as well. cant wait to see more yummy food from yours

jenny2write said...

Delicious looking stuff, rachel. Evil, too.

thatgirlblogs said...

thanks for the recipe!

Toni said...

Yuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyy! What time do you want me over for tea? lol

~SHANNON~ said...

Rachel- those look CRAZY good!!! YUMMY!!! Good one you figuring the recipe out!

Shannon at:

Em said...

I don't think I've ever had these before. They look lovely!

Kimberly said...

Sweet, and so yummy!

Rachel said...

Yum!! I've never heard of these, but they look super good and I must try them!

Thanks for visiting and commenting by the way. I look forward to sharing recipes with you via blogs! =)

Johanna said...

I love these golden bikkies - I have had my eye on a florentines recipe with condensed milk which I fancy trying some time - meanwhile love looking at yours

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Ha! I've been known to speak too soon as well. Looks like you backed up your claim deliciously, Rachel. Happy Holidays!

christine said...

The vegan, wheat-free version were a daily delight, and I blame them entirely for the fact that my waistbands are so tight! (but don't let that stop you making more to test my resiliance, please!!)

Zeemaid said...

OMG!!! a florentine recipe!! You totally rock! Those are both of our favourite treats. We don't wait for Christmas though. Once in a while we go to the bakery and pick them up to have with our evening tea!

My husband is so going to get a kick out of this. None of the bakeries around here make these! Thanks so much and happy FB day!

Jenn Erickson said...

Those look absolutely wonderful! I've never had a Florentine before, but now am determined that I must have one soon!

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