When I offered my thin, crunchy florentines to a friend to try, she made the comment that “Florentine” usually implies it includes spinach – after reassuring her my cookies weren’t hiding anything green that could potentially get stuck in her teeth, I proceeded to look up the difference between Florentine and Florentines!
When “Florentine” is used in the name of a dish, it does indeed suggest spinach is included. This appears to originate from Florence, Italy, but stories differ on how it came about.
It would seem that these cookies have no connection to Florence, Italy – one definition has them invented by Austrian bakers, and another by Australian, with no explanation on the name – once again, the actual beginnings seem to be lost back somewhere in their obscure history.
However these cookies were baked into existence, they are a wonderful treat, and I am thankful to have discovered them on a Home Tour I recently went on with a group of friends.
ORANGE CRANBERRY FLORENTINES
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cream
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cups slivered almonds, finely chopped
1/2 cup candied orange peel, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/3 cup flour
9 ounces of milk chocolate, finely chopped
Place butter, sugar, cream and honey in a medium saucepan, attach a candy thermometer to the side of pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and boil without stirring until candy thermometer registers 230F, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat, immediately add chopped almonds, candied orange peel, cranberries and flour, stir until evenly distributed. Cool to room temperature.
Heat oven to 350F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon generous teaspoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 4 inches apart.
Bake until cookies spread out, bubble and are golden brown, about 16 minutes. If cookies are misshapen, use butter knife to push the irregular edges in, forming round cookies. Slide parchment paper with cookies onto racks, cool completely.
Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and heat until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Using a fork, drizzle melted chocolate over cookies. Chill to set chocolate, about 20 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2009