TOASTED ALMOND FLORENTINES
Delicious, chewy, dark chocolate and toasted almond Florentines. My absolute favourite biscuit. A perfect Christmas gift or just eat them all up by yourself!
Watch My Easy Florentines Recipe Video (3m 39s)
I love, love, love these biscuits. I first tried them when I came to the UK back in 2001. My husband bought some on a trip up to Scotland in the middle of winter. We had stopped in Jedburgh to see the Abbey on the way up to Edinburgh. It was snowing and the Abbey looked gorgeous. But it was sooooooo cold.
After freezing our bums off for an hour we decided to look for a place to eat and the first place we came across was a little bakery just around the corner. We bought some Scotch pies (we were in Scotland after all) and six Florentines.
I’d never seen Scotch pies or Florentines before and although the Scotch pies were nice, the Florentines were just gorgeous. Chewy, nutty, chocolatey, caramelly(?). Everything that’s amazing about biscuits in one bite. I ended up eating five of them. C’mon, I saved one for my husband. I nearly didn’t though. 😉
When we got back home, I wanted to make some. Well OK lots. I’ve tried a lot of recipes over the years and most of them were great. I prefer Florentines without any candied fruit but you can add anything you like really. Crystalised stem ginger, dried cranberries or cherries, sea salt, are all good additions, but in my opinion they are perfect with toasted almonds and dark chocolate. Yum.
I did a bit of research for this blog post to try and find out where Florentines come from. I thought the obvious answer was going to be Florence, Italy, but as it turns out, nobody really knows! They are definitely not from Florence though as they don’t have any similarity with any Tuscan biscuits or cookies.¹
The first mention of a Florentine is from an English cookbook by Elizabeth Grey, the Countess of Kent, published in 1653 (https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=eebo;idno=A47270.0001.001) called A true gentlewomans delight Wherein is contained all manner of cookery: together with preserving, conserving, drying and candying. Very necessary for all ladies and gentlewomen. Catchy title!
Here is her recipe for a Florentine:
To bake a Florentine.
Take the kidney of a loin of Veal, or the wing of a Capon, or the leg of a Rabbet, mince any of these small with the Kidney of a loin of Mutton, if it be not fat enough, then season it with Cloves, Mace, Nutmegs, and Sugar, Cream, Currans, Eggs, and Rosewater, mingle these four together, and put them into a dish between two sheets of paste, then close it, and cut the paste round by the brim of the dish, then cut round about like Virginall keyes, then turn up one, and let the other lie, then pink it, cake it, scrape on Sugar, and serve it.
Recipes have come a long way in the last 350 years! Can I have some actual measurements please? Gentlewomen must have been good with estimates. I dread to think what I might cook up if I got the quantities mixed up. Mutton Kidney Custard Pie anyone? Although, I’m sure it was a great pie for their day. As you can see it doesn’t have much in common with my favourite biscuit.
Florentines make lovely gifts, especially if you are on a tight budget. My husband made some for Secret Santa at his workplace last Christmas. They look so lovely in a little bag or tin tied with a cute ribbon. And of course you can use any chocolate you like. A lot of recipes add candied peel and other dried fruit but I prefer my Florentines just like this.
Enjoy this lovely recipe with your family and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.
This recipe is adapted from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sourcherryandstemgin_90639
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 150g Caster Sugar
- 4 tsp Plain Flour
- 150ml Crème Fraîche
- 100g Toasted Flaked Almonds
- 200g Dark Chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Put the butter, sugar and flour in a pan and cook over a medium heat. Stir continuously until everything has melted and dissolved.
- Add the crème fraîche a little at a time. Don’t stop stirring.
- Add the almonds and mix well.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spoon teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking paper. Leave 2.5cm/1in spaces between the spoonfuls so they don’t touch while in the oven.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Take them out of the oven and leave to cool on the tray. When cool enough to touch, move them to a cooling rack.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave on a low/medium setting. Be careful not to burn it.
- Turn the Florentines over and spread the chocolate over the flat base. Let the chocolate set and then try not to eat them all in one go!