So tell me :: have you ever heard of Florentines??
I hadn't until last week. Had no idea what these little scrumptious beauties were at all, had never come across them, had never eaten them, and had certainly never thought to make them. But last week I was enjoying a quiet moment browsing through a beautiful book called Christmas Inspirations by Rose Hammick & Charlotte Packer, and there they were on page 121, looking quite festive and delicious. From the recipe they seemed easy to make with only a few uncomplicated ingredients, so I thought I'd give them a whirl. And oh.....what a delight these are!
I ended up experimenting a little with the recipe, making a couple of changes to suit my taste/store cupboard. The original recipe used mixed peel and glace cherries, neither of which I had in or am particularly fond of. So I used a mixture of dried cranberries and apricots when I first made them, but I found the apricots a little sweet so now use just the cranberries. I also altered the chocolatey bit, making mine with a mixture of dark chocolate and milk chocolate orange. And I have to say, in my humble opinion, using chocolate-orange was quite inspired and reeeeeeeaally makes these very special indeed.
So anyhow, here is my version of Festive Florentines.
Or to describe them another way, Cranberry and Chocolate Orange Florentines...
Into a heat proof bowl, put the following ::
50g caster sugar
1 tablespoon clear runny honey.
Pop the bowl into the microwave for about 45seconds so that everything melts together, and give a good stir.
Now add ::
50g plain flour
Stir well until you have a smooth paste.
Now add ::
50g flaked almonds
50g dried cranberries
The mixture should make around 18 Florentines, so either use two baking sheets or bake in two batches. You'll need to line your baking sheet(s) with grease proof paper, then dollop on teaspoons of the mixture. Space them well apart as they spread when they cook.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 / 350 / gas 4 for 8-10 mins :: NOTE :: keep a close eye on how they're doing towards the end as it's easy to overcook them. They should end up a light golden colour.
The picture above is of the first batch I made which were baked for 10 mins, see how they look a bit brown and crispy at the edges?? I now take them out at 8 mins before they brown too much and they look/taste much nicer.
When the baking sheet comes out of the oven, leave for a couple of minutes so the florentines begin to harden, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
Now for the chocolately bit....you'll need to melt 120g good chocolate of your choice... I combined 60g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) and 60g milk chocolate orange, heated in the microwave for about 45secs, then stirred well until it all melted.
Spread a good teaspoon of melted chocolate onto the underside of each Florentine until it's well covered, then leave to cool/set completely.
These little festive Sweet Treats are sooooooo yummy, and very very good alongside a mug of freshly brewed morning coffee.
I'm going to be making up several batches to package prettily and give to family and friends next week as gifts.
Here's hoping they're scoffed with pleasure.