Easy Florentines: simply elegant.

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Now let me say, right off the bat – I’m not one of those people who thinks fooling around with the flavor of chocolate is a good thing.

I mean, I LOVE chocolate – if it’s bittersweet, dark, or semisweet.

Milk chocolate? Meh.

White chocolate? Well, as the guys on Car Talk say, bo-o-o-o-o-gus.

But dark chocolate? I could nibble it all day long. And sometimes do.

Thus it was with great trepidation that I approached this recipe for Florentines, a classic European confection pairing dark chocolate with (gulp) candied orange peel and toasted almonds.

Toasted almonds, OK. Nuts and chocolate were made for one another.

But chocolate and orange? I feel the marriage does neither justice. Kinda like a concert featuring Placido Domingo and Lady Gaga. Each is fine in his/her own right, but would they make beautiful music together?

Methinks not.

Still, I’m always ready to have my mind changed, especially if it means adding another dark chocolate recipe to my arsenal of favorites.

And danged if these Florentines didn’t do just that: change my mind.

The chewy, tangy/sweet orange peel, toasty/crunchy nuts, and dark chocolate are absolutely PERFECT with one another. Not only that – they’re held together in a whisper-thin, transparent disk of sugar/honey/cream that snaps like the thinnest layer of just-formed ice.

And the best part of all – they’re EASY TO MAKE. The whole is so much more than the sum of its four simple parts.

And those four parts would be chocolate, almonds, orange peel, sugar, honey, cream… hey, wait a minute. That’s way more than four ingredients.

Not when you substitute our Sticky Bun Sugar for the sugar/honey/cream, thereby taking most of the effort and all of the angst out of making these sometimes tricky confections.

C’mon along with me, as I convince you to try these… cookies? Candy?

Whatever they are, I guarantee they’ll disappear in a flash. Even in a crowd of “pure” chocolate lovers.

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment, or non-stick foil.

Can you make these without parchment or non-stick foil? Well, you can grease your baking sheet, but you’ll have a lot more success if you use parchment or non-stick foil.

Mix the following in a bowl:

1 1/4 cups (4 1/4 ounces) Sticky Bun Sugar*
1 cup unblanched sliced almonds
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) candied orange peel

*Can you make these without Sticky Bun Sugar? Yes; but not using this recipe. Classic Florentines are made with a boiled mixture of butter, honey, cream, and sugar, and are much more difficult to successfully pull off. We think this simple version, using Sticky Bun Sugar, is easy, fail-safe, and well worth the investment in the special sugar.

Using a tablespoon measure, make 1-tablespoon mounds of the mixture on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2″ apart; they’ll spread a lot as they bake.

Bake the Florentines for about 10 minutes, until the almonds are golden brown. Reverse the pans in the oven midway through the baking time, so they brown evenly.

Clearly I could have spaced these closer together. The next sheet, I baked 12 at a time.

Remove the Florentines from the oven, and allow them to cool completely on the pan.

When the Florentines are completely cool, melt a scant 1 cup (about 5 ounces) chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips), either in a microwave, or over very low heat. Stir until it’s completely smooth.

I’m using Peter’s Burgundy Chunks here, my favorite semisweet chocolate.

Brush the melted chocolate onto the flat (bottom) of each cookie, placing them, chocolate side up, on a rack to set.

Serve with tea or coffee; they make a truly elegant finish to a dinner party. Or, carefully packed in a pretty jar, a nice hostess gift.

Wrap airtight, and store cool and dry for up to several weeks.

Read, make, and review (please) our recipe for Easy Florentines.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. hobbit

    In an effort to NEVER waste anything, I made candied grapefruit peels and we have been dipping them in the extra frosting leftover from the yellow cake with ganache……pretty good eh! At least that’s what my family thinks.

    Excellent idea! I love the way you think… Never mind reduce, but definitely reuse and recycle! :) PJH

    Reply
  2. Margy

    I’ve made the regular florentine cookies before with the boiling method, etc–these look so much easier! I noticed these don’t include flour, unlike my usual florentine recipe; are they more like a cookie or a brittle? Hmmm, wonder how this would work using peanuts instead of almonds, skipping the orange peel, and adding some salt–almost instant peanut brittle/chews? I swear by my silpat when making a sticky confection like this. Just watch out for that hot sugar!

    Reply
  3. Nancy

    Is the sticky bun sugar gluten free?

    Since we pack it at our facility here in Vermont, which is NOT certified GF, we can’t make a GF claim for it, Nancy – PJH

    Reply
  4. kelticlibra

    These sound incredible, I can’t wait to make them. And the marriage of chocolate and orange? You’re joshing me, right? My most popular Christmas fudge is the batch I make with 70% bittersweet chocolate, KAF espresso powder and Fiori di Sicilia.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Colson

      Can you share this chocolate espresso fudge with fiori de sicila flavor??? OMG…love the fiori flavor!

  5. garnham

    You sold me. I’ll make Florentines. But you have to tell me what brand of half-sheet edged cookie pans you used. I have some Calphalon 12×17 pans that I HATE — they “rack” after 10 minutes in the oven, often with such violence that they toss baked goods into the air! Calphalon’s PR dept. said that is “normal.” Not to me it isn’t!

    Shouldn’t have any trouble with these sturdy guys, garnham… PJH

    Reply
  6. "Joey D in LA"

    Placido and Gaga? Have to agree with you, not a marriage of music I’d pay to hear! But, I have to agree with kelticlibra on this one… the marriage of chocolate and orange? Chocolate covered oranges are, as my wife’s students would say, “ridiculous”. LOL Like kelticlibra, one of my most requested cookie recipes at cookie swaps: citrus essence chocolate chocolate chip… using KAF Espresso Powder, Fiori di Sicilia, and KAF Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa.

    That being said… these never made it to the cookie jar! Thanks PJ for another good one.

    There are plenty of people who love that orange/chocolate combination, Joey = just not me! However, the chocolate/chocolate/espresso part definitely grabs me… Betting these are nice and moist, too. Might have to make some Double Shot Mocha Chunks soon. :) PJH

    Reply
  7. patber5

    I asked a few days ago about making these with pecans instead of almonds because I had pecans at home and didn’t want to go to the store. I did a rough chop on the nuts. I tried it and my family loved them! They are somewhat more fragile so I drizzled the chocolate on top (liberally to hold them together). The next day I made the almond ones and they were well received as well, but my non-nut eating son preferred the pecans.

    Reply

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