Florentines —a deceptively simple delicacy!

Dark chocolate florentines

I am again attempting to persuade you to try making these at home, rather than going for the easier though far less satisfying option of just eating these out of a packet. #homemadeisbest and homemade gifts are even better! And these are very easy —everything just goes into one pan — so it is again a fun recipe to do with little ones. The hardest thing is probably making sure you don’t burn them, but even with charred edges, these will still taste delicious.

Florentines are nutty, chewy biscuits that are usually (preferably) covered in some sort of chocolate on one side. There are so many different variations of a florentine recipe — you can go crazy with whatever tickles your fancy, or whatever you have left in the back of the cupboard! What they all have in common is a lovely chewy caramel base, some nuts (usually almonds, at least), and dried fruit. My personal favourites are with dark chocolate at the base, as I find the bitterness counteracts the sweetness of the biscuit just right! I have seen versions with pistachios, cranberries, dried cherries — even coconut, if you like. And of course, coat with milk or white chocolate according to your preference.

Like the soft almond biscuits, these are lovely to give as a gift. Pop them in a pretty box with a bit of tissue paper or wrap in cellophane with a piece of ribbon, and who needs Fortnums! I guess you can also argue that they are a good way to get kids to eat nuts, but I guess that from a nutritional point of view, this has to go in the treats pile rather than anything else…

I have made a baking kit for this recipe, so if you can’t be bothered to go out and buy all the ingredients, head to my website and I’ll do all the hard work for you!

However, if you have half an hour to spare, some people to impress or a birthday coming up, here goes.

Dark Chocolate Florentines

50g flaked almonds; 50g chopped walnuts; 75g chopped mixed peel; 75g glacé cherries; 50g plain flour; 50g golden syrup; 50g demerara sugar; 50g unsalted butter; 100g dark chocolate

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan.

Line a baking tray with cupcake cases (or just baking paper — I find the cupcake cases give the florentines a pretty scalloped edge, but this is by no means a must!)

  1. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a small pan. The sugar grains should dissolve by the time the butter has melted.
  2. Remove from the heat, and add in the nuts, dried fruit, and flour, and mix well until everything is well combined.
Make sure everything is well coated

3. Put a teaspoonful of mixture into each cupcake case (or onto a the baking paper) and spread it on the base.

Place a teaspoon of mixture onto a baking sheet

4. Bake for 8–10 minutes, until golden brown.

5. Once cool enough to handle, remove from the cases and put on a cooling rack to cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, gently melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, over a pan of simmering water.

7. Once the biscuits have cooled, use a teaspoon to coat the back of each one with chocolate. Wait a few minutes for it to lightly set, and drag a fork through the chocolate to create a wave-like pattern.

8. Wait for them to dry completely — and enjoy!