Recipe 153 – Florentines

With the shortbread being such a hit yesterday, more biscuits were requested.  This time I thought I’d make some ‘fancy biscuits’ something a little different.  If I’d looked at this recipe twelve months ago, shortly after starting this challenge, I would have quickly passed over these thinking they were something far too difficult to make.  Now, however, I looked forward to the challenge.

My oven was put on at Fan 160°C and three baking trays were lined with the wonderful non-stick liner that I had been given as a gift for Christmas.  This is something I had frequently looked at but always had my doubts about it.  It has been something that I have used time and time again since having it and is certainly great value for money.  If you’re thinking of buying some, go on, do it!

Into a small saucepan I weighed out 50g butter, 50g Demerara sugar and 50g golden syrup.  Luckily I just had enough syrup left!  The golden  syrup tin was put to one side to be washed up and I’ll either use it for cut flowers or pot it up with herbs to put on my windowsill.  A great idea given to me by a local florist.  The pan was gently heated on the hob until the butter had melted.

Before heating the butter mixture I weighed out the rest of the ingredients.  Into a bowl went 50g plain flour, 50g candied peel which I chopped up finely as I felt it was a little to chunky for this recipe, 50g of finely chopped mixed almonds and walnuts, together with 4 cherries which had also been chopped up finely.  This mixture was added to the butter mixture (which had been removed from the heat) and given a good stir to mix everything together.

Teaspoonfuls of the mixture were spooned onto the baking trays.  Mary said the recipe should make 20 Florentines, I made 18, 6 on each baking sheet.  Each one was spaced well apart from the others to give them room to spread whilst baking.  They were baked in the pre-heated oven for 8 minutes.  After this time they were just beginning to go golden brown, so I left them in for another couple of minutes before removing them.  As I was using a liner on my trays they were left on the trays to cool and I was pleased to say that once cool, they came off very easily.  Mary does say that if you don’t use a liner then you should remove them a little while after taking them out of the oven, otherwise they will stick.  If they do stick she gives a top tip to put them back into the oven for a few moments to soften up.

After cooling for a little bit longer on the wire rack, it was time for the topping.  175g plain chocolate was broken up into a bowl and placed over a pan of simmering water until it had melted.  A little of the melted chocolate was spread over the flat base of each Florentine and marked with a zigzag using a fork (I wasn’t quite sure why you had to do this, but it did look pretty).  These were then left to set, chocolate side up.

I did remove the biscuits from the kitchen and put them in the dining room as little hands kept prodding them to see if they were ready.  I sneakily tried one of the biscuits after about half an hour.  What a shock I got, they were lovely, bursting with citrus flavours from the candied peel.  I was tempted to have another one, but I didn’t.

We all loved them, even my son who turned his nose up at them to start with saying he wouldn’t like them as they had plain chocolate on them.  However, once he’d had one, quite a few more disappeared quite quickly.

If you’re thinking of making these, go on have a go, they’re not as difficult as they look, even though Mary says you need patience and accurate scales to make them.  Perhaps I was just lucky the first time…



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