Until last week I had never attempted making a Florentine. For some reason I had assumed that they were difficult to make.
When a client asked me to teach her housekeeper to make them, I had to do a quick trial myself before attempting to teach someone else to make them.
To my delight, they were really quick and easy. The housekeeper I taught has re-made them twice in the last week since I taught her and they have been perfect every time.
The recipe below is a slight adaptation of a recipe I got from the recipe book Bake written by Tina Bester.
Makes about 12 x 4cm cookies
2 tsp of preserved ginger syrup
2 Tbsp of preserved ginger, chopped into small pieces
3 Tbsp of dried cranberries (or sultanas), chopped into small pieces
120g of flaked almonds
100g of butter
100g of castor sugar
A pinch of salt
100g of dark chocolate, melted in a double boiler
Preheat the oven to 180˚C and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Grease a 12-insert muffin tin (silicone molds work the best).
Combine the nuts, ginger and cranberries in a medium sized mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan melt the butter and sugar together over high heat. Add the ginger syrup and salt. Simmer the mixture stirring continually until it starts to turn light caramel in colour, about 5 – 10 minutes. Add a teaspoon or two of water if the sugar crystals have not dissolved. Pour over the nut mixture and combine well.
Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin inserts. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown and allow to cool fully before turning out onto a wax paper sheet with the smooth side of the cookies facing up.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and using a pastry brush, paint flat side of the cookies with the chocolate. You can do a few layers of chocolate and continue until the chocolate is finished. Allow this to set fully (perhaps even refrigerate for a few minutes) before storing in an airtight container in a cool place.