florentines

Until recently, I had never had a Florentine, those thin, crispy almond-and-orange cookies.  I had seen them in the odd cookie book or collection, but for some reason they had never interested me enough to make.  In the end, for this particular recipe iteration, I’m not totally sure it was worth the time.  Oh, I can certainly see where it would be – they tasted great, after all.  Still, the amount of time needed to turn out what ended up being a very fragile and uneven product, well, it makes me think that I might need to rethink the recipe is all.

The issue is that the dough was very crumbly and hard to roll, and although that problem was fixable – warming the dough in my palms before making balls – it was time-consuming.  Also, the cookies spread far more than I was expecting, so far in fact that they had numerous holes in their surface, and I think, this can’t be right.  So, I’m thinking perhaps the fact that I didn’t pulverize my almonds enough was probably the culprit.  Also, several recipes called for corn syrup, and I used golden syrup, because I like the taste better.

florentines (makes about 30 4-inch sandwich cookies)

Note: When my oven was at 350, my edges got far too brown, nearly burning before the center was cooked past the point of being chewy.  So I eventually had to turn my oven down to 200 in order to get the edges and the middle to cook even close to evenly.  Again, not sure if this is a problem with my dough, so, if you’ve pulverized the almonds thoroughly enough, start off at 350 with your first batch, and keep turning down the oven accordingly, if needed.

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. blanched almonds, ground finely
  • 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. flour
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. each heavy cream + golden syrup
  • 1 stick + 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. chocolate (your choice of milk/semisweet/bittersweet)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together almonds, flour, orange zest, and salt.
  3. In a saucepan, bring sugar, cream, golden syrup, and butter up to a boil.  Stir frequently and cook until the sugar has been dissolved.  Leave on the stove another minute, then remove to stir in vanilla.  Add to almond mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
  5. Scoop teaspoon-sized amounts of dough and roll them into balls.  Place them about 4 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 5 minutes, and watching carefully for doneness.  They should be an even golden brown – too light in the middle, and they will be chewy and sticky rather than crispy.
  7. Cool on the baking sheet until you can safely move them to cooling racks, about 3-5 minutes.
  8. When all the cookies are out of the oven and cooling, chop your chocolate and melt it over gentle heat on the stovetop, or in the microwave in 30-second bursts.  Stir while letting it cool briefly, then spread over the bottom sides of half of the cookies.  Top with the remaining half to make thin cookie sandwiches.
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