This post has been languishing here completely unposted for like a year and a half. Seeing it now though, I’m definitely having a hankering for Florentines. Rum soaked fruit? Nuts? Coconut, Caramelized goodness? Chocolate in all the ways? Yes please. Luckily I was smart enough to have written out the recipe before apparently running away from my blog with wild abandon.
What I really need to keep me motivated:
What I actually tell myself to justify being super lazy:
Or another way of looking at it – “That’s tomorrow Amber’s problem” 😉
Anyway, since I’m back (for the moment/ briefly at least. Who knows what the future may bring? I’m thinking even more laziness, but I don’t have it in me to try and predict the future. That sounds like work).
Anywho, onto the actual subject at hand – Florentines!!! Crispy, snappy, all the textures! Another boon I enjoy about these are how awesomely portable they are. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cupcakes, pie, soft cookies, frosted cookies, cinnamon rolls, trifle, pudding and all the other deliciousness that falls under the most amazing umbrella in existence with the humble moniker of “Dessert”. (This umbrella is a very necessary thing if MacArthur Park is correct, because if “….someone left the cake out in the rain…” and you don’t have your dessert umbrella…well….don’t say I didn’t warn you. Maybe that’s what really happens to all those failed “Nailed It!” cakes?). My point being, I can’t tell you how often I’ve delicately placed my soft cookies/cupcakes/frosted whatevers into a tin or what have you and then I essentially make Kevin guard it with his life/ shield it with his body while I’m driving, hoping the whole way that we’re not in an accident or something (not because I’m worried for our lives and safety apparently, but because I don’t want the frosting to get slightly smudged. Unlike that last time:
Note: This is an actual car accident that happened to me in 2019 when someone veered across 5 lanes of traffic and slammed into the side of my car sending me spinning in a circle across the highway, ending up facing backwards in the left most lane on the 407. Luckily, no desserts were in the car at the time. Phewf.
Priorities people!). But will you have this issue with these? Absolutely not! (Within reason), you can practically throw them into your cookie tin (and any that don’t fit may be transported orally 😉 ), shotput that cookie tin into your trunk and peal out of your driveway like your a#* is on fire or the police are after you (and if that’s the case, you’ll have cookies with which to bribe them! Not that I’m endorsing bribery…unless it works of course 🙂 ).
Now these do require a candy thermometer (or feel free to use your fingers to check for doneness…once you reach 3rd degree burn levels after 1 second of exposure, they’re done!), but don’t let that scare you off, they’re honestly super fast and easy to make, but also sound fancy and complicated. Just say anything in French and it’s suddenly posh. For instance, these cookies also just have that certain “je ne sais quoi” (Image I associate with this:
vs the English translation of them having that certain “I don’t know what” (Image I associate with that:
Also, random fun side fact about the word “Florentine”
- resident of Florence
- type of cookie; type of silk
- of or pertaining to Florence (Italy)
- served with spinach
One of these things is not like the other. Does anyone else feel like that last one is a trick that French parents possibly use on their children to get them to eat spinach? Hey kids! We’re having Floretines for dinner!” (“Yeah!” thinks dumb child, “cookies for dinner!”) then the kids rush downstairs in their haste to reach the dinner table. Then, after their parents have tied them to their dinner chairs (what? You’re parents didn’t do that?), they’re served up a huge plate of spinach while their parents cackle with delight. C’est la vie I guess.
Now I give an approximate cookie size suggestion below, but feel free to make them as big or as Floren-tiny as you like.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
- Candy thermometer (sorry, this is one where you need this a little more, you can pick them up at the grocery store, Amazon – or almost anywhere really – for relatively cheap if you don’t have one)
- 1/3 cup pistachios (or any other chopped nut)
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (or any other dried fruit you like works too raisins etc.) – optionally soak these overnight in rum or brandy
- 1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/4 cups sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup vegan butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- large pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons canned coconut milk (or vegan creamer. Any non-dairy milk should work too if that’s all you have)
- 1 cup chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)
- 1/4 cup vegan white chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a couple of baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper (I don’t recommend just greasing the pan for this one as I think they’d be liable to stick).
- Place the pistachios, cherries and ginger in a food processor and whir for a few seconds until things are broken up into smallish pieces. Add the flour and whir again briefly just to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in coconut flakes and sliced almonds.
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and salt over low heat. Cook, without stirring (if you’re worried it’s sticking/burning you can gently shake the pan, just try to stir minimally) until the temperature reaches 120C on the candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and stir in the canned coconut milk.
- Pour the caramel over the fruit and nut mixture and stir until combined.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture on your baking sheet and smooth it out with the back of a spoon until you have a flat circle of evenish thickness. These can spread a bit while baking, so don’t place them too close together. Continue until you’ve used up all the mixture
- Bake for 8–10 minutes, or until evenly golden brown, flipping halfway through. Watch them carefully, they can burn really quickly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- While they’re cooling, place dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 1 minutes. Remove and stir until smooth. You can microwave it a bit more in brief bursts if after 30 seconds or so of stirring it’s not completely melted and smooth
- Dip the top of each florentine in the dark chocolate. Allow dark chocolate to set up (you can place in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process if you like).
- While the dark chocolate sets up, if using, place the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30-45 seconds, then stir until smooth (microwaving further if needed).
- Drizzle melted white chocolate over the tops of the cookies.
- You can definitely store these at room temperature, but I found I liked them better from the fridge as they retained their crunchiness more.