When I was a teenager, my mom would often keep me at home from school so we could spend the day together (she was that awesome). Once or twice a term she would wake me with the biggest smile and say “today is an ‘us’ day”. We would go get DVD’s or go for a movie, grab some lunch and she always bought some type of pastry/dessert to end the day with. Most often, she bought Chocolate Florentines which I absolutely adored from the first bite.
Buttery, rich and indulgent, I loved that they were flecked with bright red cherries and had a luxurious coating of dark chocolate. I haven’t had a Florentine since she passed away 8 years ago and had a sudden, intense craving for them this week. I bought the ingredients and decided to give it a go. At one point I thought they completely flopped and dumped the cookie trays on the counter and walked away. I returned an hour later to perfect Florentines. Now, either I have kitchen fairies who fixed my flop or just letting them relax a little helped them become the perfect Florentines they were meant to be. It’s important for you to let them bake long enough for all the sugar to melt again and for the Florentines to spread out a little. I got paranoid half-way through and squashed them down, first with my hands which is a really stupid thing to do (um, hot sugar burns, mkay?) and then with a spatula. After all the Florentine-induced drama, I was left with perfect, delicate cookies which took me straight back to my teen years and days spent with my mom. Just what I needed.
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 70 ml cream approximately 1/4 cup
- 75 g salted butter cubed
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 200 g flaked almonds toasted
- 150 g Glacé cherries halved
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 200 g dark chocolate optional
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
- In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cream, butter and maple syrup and bring to the boil.
- Allow to cook until the mixture turns golden brown.
- Add the almonds, cherries and flour and mix together quickly to coat in the buttery-sugar mixture.
- Place spoonfuls of the mixture on the baking trays, making sure you leave sufficient space in between each Florentine as they will spread quite a bit.
- Place the trays in the oven and allow to bake for 10-15 minutes until the cookies are a deep amber colour.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Optional: Melt the chocolate and spread onto the back of each Florentine. Allow to set then store in the fridge until ready to eat.