Thin, lacy, delicate biscuits coated with a layer of chocolate, these chocolate florentines are possibly the best and most decadent biscuits ever.
What I love most about florentines is that while technically they are a fine delicate biscuit, when made the classic way and coated with a layer of chocolate on the base they are in many ways more like a chocolate. And what it not to love about a treat that brings two of my favourite treats together in this way.
They are not too sweet and are perfect for having with a cup of tea, an after-dinner coffee or even on a special occasion with a bottle of bubbly.
Chocolate florentines with pecan, cranberries and ginger
Florentines are most often made with flaked almonds with the addition of candied peel and glace cherries. I have adapted these to use one of my favourite nuts pecans which also go very well with cranberries but the pièce de résistance for me is the addition of a little stem ginger
How to make perfect Florentines
The actually florentine mixture is very simple to make. The butter and sugar is combined in a saucepan before adding the remaining ingredients. Once mixed the cookie mixture is spooned onto the baking sheets and baked.
And this is where it can get a bit tricky. Firstly always line the baking sheet as the high sugar content can make them stick. You can do this with baking parchment or a reuseable baking tray liner.
Florentines do tend to spread a lot when you bake them, so use a dessert spoon or teaspoon when placing them on the baking sheet, making sure you leave plenty of room for them to spread.
Flatten the mixture out slightly with the back of the spoon as otherwise you can end up with a pile of fruit and nuts in the middle and the centre not cooked while the outside burns.
Timing is key to sucess
Timing the baking of these can also be a little tricky, undercooking florentines will leave you with a tray of biscuits that disintegrate but overcooking them will spoil the flavour. When cooked perfectly they should be a pale golden colour.
Now they may not be well behaved and spread into perfect circles. Not to worry. I have a neat little trick for this.
As soon as you take them out of the oven, use a lightly oiled round metal cookie cutter that is a little larger then the finished cookie should be. Place it over each florentine and gently nudge the mixture into a neat circle using a circular movement. Then allow to cool and harden before removing from the baking sheet.
If you are new to making Florentines you may find it easier to cook in small batches.
Coating with Chocolate
Traditionally Florentines are spread with chocolate, marked with a wavy pattern. I temper some chocolate and spread a thin layer over each biscuit. I then go back and spread another thin layer on top marking each one into waves a fork as I do so.
The easiest way to temper the chocolate is by a method known as seeding. To do this to melt ⅔ to ¾ of the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate. Stir until melted to cool and temper the chocolate. If this cools the chocolate too much that it is very thick or not all the added chocolate has melted, return very briefly to the heat. to rewarm the chocolate
Tempered chocolate will set and give it it's characteristic snap and is the ultimate finishing touch to these fine cookies. You can read more detail about tempering chocolate in my how to temper chocolate masterclass.
You can use plain white or milk chocolate, the choice is yours. I like to coat some in plain chocolate as this contrasts so well with the sweetness of the biscuit and some with white chocolate because the extra creaminess of the chocolate is so decadent. Then again they are also delicious coated in milk chocolate. In fact, I really can't make up my mind which I like the most!
Good enough to give
Because these are a little tricky to make and require a degree of care and attention it makes them all the nicer to give as gifts. You could also make mini ones as petits fours.
How to make chocolate florentines with pecan cranberries and ginger
- 50 g (2oz) butter
- 75 g (3oz) golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsp double cream
- 1½ tbsp plain flour
- 125 g (4oz) pecans chopped
- 40 g (1½oz) dried cranberries finely chopped
- 40 g (1½oz) stem ginger chopped
- 225 g (8oz) milk or plain chocolate aprrox
- baking sheet and parchment
- round metal cookie cutter
- Preheat the oven to 180℃/170℃fan/gas mark 4 (350°F). Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Place 50g (2oz)butter and 75g (3oz) sugar in a small pan and heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in 2tbsp cream.
- Then stir in 1½ tbsp flour, 125g (4oz) chopped pecans and 40g (1½oz) each chopped cranberries and ginger. Mix until well combined.
- Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, allowing plenty of space between each for the biscuits to spread, gently pressing the mixture level with the back if the spoon.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until pale golden. Remove from the oven and while the cookies are still hot use a greased circular cookie cutter to pull the edges of the cookies in to form neat circles. Allow to cool completely before removing from the baking sheet.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and place ¾ of it in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Stir until melted. Remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate. Stir until mall the chocolate has melted.
- Allow the chocolate to cool slightly then spread a thin layer onto the backs of the florentines and allow to set.
- Spread a second layer of chocolate over each florentine then use a fork to mark squiggles in the chocolate with a fork and allow to set. Serve and enjoy!
This recipe was first published on my other blog Recipes Made Easy.