Leafing through a pile of back issues of Delicious magazine I came across a very clever recipe for Italian florentines. A delectable combination of caramel, dried fruit and nuts. Baked in a slab. Cut into perfect circles just before the biscuit base hardens and sets. Dipped in chocolate. How ingenious. I’ve always loved florentines, but until chancing upon this recipe I’d also always assumed they would be far too time consuming and fiddly to make.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The proof was definitely in the making. The picture gallery tells the story. Each step of the way. Using ingredients readily available in my pantry I spent just over an hour of my Sunday afternoon making an almond and cranberry version. Finished with a drizzle of white chocolate to make the process even quicker and easier.
Rich and delicious, these gorgeous little morsels would make fabulous gifts for the upcoming festive season. Holiday baking. My imagination begins to run away from me. Buzzing with endless flavour combinations. Pistachio and sour cherry. Crystallized ginger and macadamia nut. Dredged in dark chocolate. Wrapped in clear cellophane and tied with pretty ribbon.
Almond and Cranberry Florentines With White Chocolate Drizzle
Adapted from a recipe in Delicious Magazine December 2012, page 110
Makes 30 florentines
100g unsalted butter, chopped
2/3 firmly packed cup (160g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (175g) golden syrup
2/3 cup (100g) plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 cups (225g) dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups (225g) blanched almonds, chopped
150g white chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
PREHEAT oven to 180C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
PLACE butter, sugar, and golden syrup in a medium sized saucepan pan over medium-heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring to combine.
REMOVE from heat, then sift in flour and ginger, stirring to combine.
DIVIDE the mixture between the baking trays, using a palette knife to spread each into a rectangle about 2-3mm thick.
PLACE the first baking tray in the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until mixture has spread.
REMOVE from the oven and scatter evenly with half each of the cranberries and nuts.
RETURN the tray to the oven for a further 12-15 minutes until bubbling and golden. REMOVE from the oven and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes while you repeat the cooking process with the second tray and remaining florentine mixture, cranberries and nuts.
WHILE the biscuit slab is still a little warm and soft, use a lightly greased 5cm round cutter to cut out circles from the first florentine batch, starting from the outside working inwards. By the time you finish, the second batch should be just coming out of the oven.
CHILL the cut out florentines on paper lined baking trays in the refrigerator for half an hour to cool completely before melting the chocolate.
PLACE the chopped chocolate and vegetable oil in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring until melted. Cool slightly.
SPOON the melted chocolate into a small ziplock bag, squeezing the mixture to one corner. Snip off corner and drizzle chocolate over the cooled biscuits. Leave to set on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
STORE in an airtight container for up to a week.