Florentines – Chica Finally Makes Something Sweet

I know, I know, I can’t remember the last time I posted a recipe for something sweet and a little naughty. We all have to be naughty sometimes don’t we? And these bite sized Florentines really hit the spot and are a perfect gift to take along when you go visiting.

Florentines

I made these recently when we went for lunch with a pal to my parents. We’re not really a family of dessert eaters generally, but a little treat like this with a cup of strong coffee after a perfect lunch is a great way to round things off. And I know my mum has a soft spot for these little almond and chocolate biscuits so that was a good enough reason for me to have a go at making them.

They’re not all that difficult to make, you just have to keep an eye on them at each stage so that you don’t end up with burnt nuts (and nobody wants burnt nuts do they?!). Set aside a couple of hours and put a pot of your favourite coffee on to brew and you’ll enjoy a wonderful, creative afternoon making these sweet treats.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 3 tsp flour
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50g/2oz flaked almonds toasted
  • 20g chopped hazlenuts
  • 100g/4oz dried sour cranberries and glace cherries finely chopped
  • 150g/5oz good quality dark chocolate broken into pieces (I did a few with white chocolate too)

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Heat the butter, syrup and flour in a pan over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until the butter has melted
  3. Gradually add the cream, stirring continuously until well combined.
  4. Add the nuts and fruit and mix well until combined.
  5. Line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper and place teaspoonfuls of the florentine mixture onto it. Space the teaspoonfuls out at 2.5cm/1in intervals so they don’t merge together when heated.
  6. Transfer the florentines to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden-brown. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn.
  7. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on the tray, then transfer the florentines to a cooling rack. Be patient here, they need to be cool otherwise they will break easily when still warm and soft.
  8. Bring a little water to a simmer in a pan. Suspend a heatproof bowl over the water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water). Add the chocolate pieces and stir until smooth and melted.
  9. Turn the florentines so that the flat base is facing upwards. Spread the melted chocolate over the florentine bases and set aside to cool and set. I used a pastry brush to do this.

Although keeping them in the fridge will cause the chocolate to lose its shine, I found that the warmth of my kitchen caused them to soften so I kept them cool. This crisped them up and they tasted great!

Inspired by a BBC Recipe

Chocolate Refrigerator Cake

The Spanish love sweet things.  I don´t think I´m making too much of a generalization with that statement.  Not that they´re greedy, but a little cake or biscuit is always most welcomed with a strong cup of coffee at the end of a meal, or a big bowl of milky coffee if it´s the start of the day.

Dealing with preparations for our unexpected lunch for 12, I was lucky that I had already made some of Spree´s gorgeous Mexican Wedding Cookies for an earlier family meal. The recipe makes plenty, and they were hugely popular. The only change I made to these, as I was in a rush, was to grind all the nuts (I used almonds and walnuts) and not chop half of them.  Lovely, lovely little biscuits and I´ll definitely be making them again.

Another quick recipe which came to mind was for Chocolate Refrigerator cake.  I made this the night before our lunch party and cut the cake into small squares the next morning.  These went down well too, and it´s a good recipe to make with little children as you only need a (supervised) heat source for melting.

Here´s the way I made it, although you can chop and change (or even omit) the fruit/nut filling.

250g crushed digestive biscuits (graham crackers)
100g butter
2 tablespoons of golden syrup or honey
3 level tablespoons of cocoa powder
About half a cup of “filling” – I used the last of my drained boozy fruits and added the grated zest of one lemon and one orange

Melt the butter with the golden syrup and cocoa then add to the crushed biscuits and filling.  Mix well until everything is well coated. If you leave some large chunks of biscuit/cracker, you will have some pretty speckles in the finished “cake”.

Pour into a tin lined with cling film, flatten and press it with your finger tips then cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight until firm.

Cut into squares – it´s very rich so I tend to do “bite sized”. And that´s it. Doesn´t get much quicker or easier does it?!