Inspiration. It comes from all around. A word here, a picture there, even perhaps a smell snatched whilst en route.
Florentines. Why did you pop into my head and consume my thoughts? Perhaps it’s the Christmas decorations that have started to adorn the streets; an invitation to dinner; a flick through some cookbooks? I’m sure it’s a combination of all these things and probably more.
Traditionally florentines are flavoured with either orange peel (of which I am not particularly fond) or orange zest. Neither of these did I have. But what I did have was inspiration! Hurrah. So I took a more middle eastern route and flavoured mine with sour cherries, cranberries (okay, maybe that’s just Christmas inspiration) and orange blossom. Dark chocolate drizzled on top, of course.
Crunchy, tangy, sweet and delicately fragrant. And festive, oh yes, definitely festive.
Jewelled Orange Blossom Florentines
Makes 30 – 40 biscuits
- 75g unsalted butter
- 100g sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom honey, or 1 tablespoon honey plus 3/4 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 1/4 cup dried sour cherries
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 100g flaked almonds
- 20g flour
- pinch of salt
- 70g dark chocolate, melted
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Line two baking trays with aluminium foil, matte side up.
In a small saucepan, place your butter, sugar, milk, honey and orange blossom water over a low heat until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, turn the heat up just a little and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the saucepan, until the mixture reaches 115 degrees celcius on a sugar thermometer, or soft-ball stage.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, then stir in the flour, salt, almonds and dried fruit.
Place scant teaspoons of the mixture on the lined trays. Allow lots of room between the drops of mixture, as the mixture spreads tremendously while it bakes! See before, and after baking…
You may need more than two trays, in which case you can bake in two batches.
Bake in the oven for 6 – 8 minutes, or until the florentines are deep golden brown and smell like sweet buttery heaven. If they are not baked enough they will stay sticky, so check on them and give them an extra minute if needs be.
Transfer the florentines still on the foil to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
While they are cooling, melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Drizzled the melted chocolate over your florentines.
Allow to cool completely before gently peeling the florentines from the foil. They are quite fragile, but this is part of what makes them so delicate and delicious. They will keep in an airtight container for up to one week.