Florentines

Florentines are one love of mine that is a total sense memory. I say love, I've only actually had them once.

I'd better explain.

First things first... me and shop brought cakes. Hate them, for the most part, at least once I've had home made versions. Exceptions include Krispy Kremes and Oreo cookies, but really I often find home made is best. Or at least freshly made. Nothing comes close to the taste. So when I say I've had Florentines only once, I've had them since, but they weren't anything like my memory, just shop brought ones one Christmas. Not "real" Florentines at all. My overiding love comes from tasting some of my mate Sarah's Mums on one afternoon when I had gone round for tea. That woman she could bake... oh my word. It was nearly 20 years ago now but I can still taste them in the back of my mind.


Why have I not baked them before now, not sure but the recipe seems fiddly, and I just never had. So into the jar they went and out of the jar they came. Right into my mouth!!


Florentines

100g flaked almonds
90g candied peel
40g glacé cherries, chopped up
25g butter
90g sugar
15g plain flour
150ml double cream
200g chocolate - I used 50/50 white and dark

Crunch up the almonds in your hands to get different size bits, then mix in with peel and cherries and put aside.

Melt the butter and sugar together on the hob, making sure they don't catch and start to burn. Then, add the flour and mix until its a nice smooth paste that looks like marzipan. Remove from the heat and whisk in the double cream. Put back on the hob briefly to beat out any lumps - you want a smooth mixture. Once you have one, make it lumpy by adding in the fruit and nuts.

Drop heaped teaspoons onto a greased baking sheet (leaving plenty of room between them) and bake for 10-12 minutes at 190c/Gas mark 5. They're done when the edges are brown and they've spread. 

Leave for a couple of minutes then ease back into shape if you want - or cut with a cookie cutter to make round (I tried both and they both work quite well). When they've cooled enough you feel safe doing so, lift and put on a wire rack to cool. They take time to cool and firm up properly but it does happen.

When they have, melt the chocolate and dip, paint or do whatever you like to decorate the Florentines.  I used a pastry brush to paint one side with one chocolate, and then drizzled the contrasting chocolate over to make them look very fancy but people do all sorts. As long as you add chocolate its pretty much however you like.

Once the chocolate has set, devour. 

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