Fruit & Nut Florentines
These dainty little 'cookies' are the best thing ever -- especially if you're into toffee because initially, that's kind of what they are. Crisp to the bite, sweet and fruity to the taste, and also, a pleasure to the eye. If you’re into giving cooked goods as gifts, you might want to give these a shot. If you’d rather just eat them yourself… well then, definitely give these a shot!
There’s an interesting debate as to whether florentines are from Florence (the general assumption, given their name!) or from 17th century France (given their delicate nature and rather French-style cooking technique). Honest Cooking has a pretty informative article about the origins of the florentine on her blog if you really want to dig up the dirt on these little lattice goodies, but otherwise — as all authentic things have — florentines have obviously changed over the centuries, and come a long way to incorporate a variety of ingredients. I make these with dried fruit and peel and an assortment of nuts, but you can use essentially anything dried that will set in the toffee-ish structure of this not-a-cookie-cookie. Enjoy making these, and as with all things, get as creative about those additions as you can!
50g brown sugar
50g plain flour
50g mixed candied fruit and peel, finely chopped
50g mixed nuts, finely chopped
300g milk chocolate, melted.
Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
Line 3 sheet-pans with baking parchment and lightly spray with cooking spray or oil (or use a silicon mat). Set aside.
Place the butter, sugar and honey into a small pan on low heat, and stir until the butter has melted. Raise the temperature slightly and leave to simmer gently for about 5 minutes.
Mix the flour, dried fruit and peel, and nuts together.
Pour this mix into the saucepan, and mix together until everything is coated in the toffee.
Spoon teaspoons of the mixture onto the prepared sheets, and spread out into circles with the back of the teaspoon (mixture will still be hot, so be careful). Make sure you leave enough space (at least 3 cm between each) for the florentines to spread while they’re in the oven.
Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave the florentines to cool and harden a bit before moving onto a cooling rack to fully cool.
While they cool, melt the chocolate - either in a microwave, or over a simmering water-bath.
Dip each florentine into the chocolate halfway, and leave on a foil-lined tray to cool down. Store in an air-tight box, and enjoy at room temperature (though can also be kept in the fridge, but will be a tad hard). Enjoy!