Yet another new favourite from The Great British Bake Off Christmas book. I love Florentines but have only ever made them once before. They’re another perfect treat to make for foodie gifts at Christmas as well as handy for having around for visitors who don’t like mince pies! I don’t know why I’ve only made them once before, maybe because if I did make them more often they wouldn’t even get to the serving plate or into the box!
The last and only time I made Florentines was about 3 years ago. That year my mum, auntie, cousin and his wife came up to stay in a nearby holiday cottage in Yorkshire. They came over to our house on Boxing Day but before we had lunch and went home to open the presents, we went out to the pub. Normally I don’t leave anything food related under the Christmas tree because our greedy Labrador would have the lot. Anyway I made the mistake of putting all the presents out under the tree for when we got back. I though I had shut the door into the lounge but obviously not. We left our dog at home for about an hour but when we came back we noticed that he had eaten half the Florentines and ripped open the cardboard gift box they were in. It was a wonder he wasn’t ill, what with all the chocolate and glace cherries on them. So my mum, auntie, cousin and his wife ended up sharing what was left of the Florentines between them! They didn’t look that marvellous anyway, quite rustic looking but I heard they tasted lovely.
This time I was planning on Florentines but this time I would bake them for my three step-sisters and their families. I definitely wouldn’t be putting them under the tree! I’d keep them up on the work top in my utility room with the door firmly closed.
The recipe introduction to the Florentines says: “These sticky little sweet treats are half biscuit and half chewy caramel goodness. They have become a classic at Christmas, probably thanks to the candied peel and glace cherries that are so beloved at this time of year,”
The recipe said it made 16-18 biscuits so I prepared two baking trays with lining paper. I know that Florentines spread out quite a lot when they are in the oven so you need to leave plenty of space between each biscuit. I wondered whether to set out a third baking tray just in case.
First, I melted butter and sugar in a small pan on the hob. When this was melted and turned into a paste, I stirred in plain flour and double cream. This was kept on the heat until smooth and the sugar had dissolved.
After this I folded in flaked toasted almonds, candied peel, dried cranberries and glace cherries. I love all the different jewel like colours in Florentines which does add to their seasonal prettiness.
When it was time to bake them I put teaspoonfuls of the mixture spaced well apart on the two baking trays. They only just fitted on two trays. Both trays went into the oven at the same time and baked for about 10 minutes.
A word of warning! Do not move the Florentines onto a cooling rack until you have given them time to cool first and harden up a bit on the baking tray. Like with any cookies, if you move them before you need to, they will break! That happened to two of mine so I left the rest for about half an hour and then moved them with a pallette knife.
To decorate the Florentines I chose to melt two different types of chocolate. I melted a pot of white chocolate and the other dark chocolate. I turned each Florentine over so that the flat bases were uppermost and spread either the white or the dark chocolate on the top of it with my small pallette knife. I then left them to set before putting them into gift bags, alternating white chocolate ones with dark chocolate ones.
Love Sam xx