Festive Florentines (naturally gluten-free!)

Posted by & filed under Cookies .

In Europe many Christmas cookies are nut-based, held together with either beaten egg whites or some form of caramel. Florentines are one of the most popular, a caramel-base cookie rich with almonds. They’re sold and enjoyed year-round, but are especially prized during the holidays.  They are naturally gluten-free, too!

Florentines are easy to mix. The whole recipe comes together in a saucepan, freeing your mixing bowls for other recipes. Melt a half-pound of butter in the saucepan with a half-pound of sugar, five tablespoons of heavy cream and four tablespoons of light corn syrup. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to make sure the sugar dissolves completely.

Lightly crush a half-pound of sliced almonds and add them to the saucepan, stirring until the nuts are thoroughly coated with the caramel mixture. Turn down the heat and cook the nuts in the caramel for two or three minutes, then remove the pot from the stove. Add a teaspoon of vanilla and stir it in. Let the cookie mixture rest for approximately a half-hour until it’s cool enough to handle. To make the cookies more festive, stir in a half-cup of dried or glaceed fruit before before they cool.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375 F. Use a teaspoon to scoop the cookie dough and roll it into small balls. They will spread to about three inches in diameter, so leave lots of room between. Bake the cookies for approximately eight minutes until they’re light brown. They’ll be soft when you take them out of the oven and you can use a round three-inch cookie cutter to make them look perfectly professional. Place the cutter over the still-soft cookies and rotate it carefully to make a clean circle. Peel away the trim pieces. Those make a pleasant reward for the baker, or you can save them up and dip them in chocolate for another treat to offer your guests.

In Europe, Florentines are often coated on one side with dark chocolate. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, then use a pastry brush to coat the flat sides of the cookies. If you have a cake-decorating comb, use it to make a zigzag design in the chocolate before it sets.

Florentines are a nearly ideal holiday cookie. Easily made, just a few Florentines add an air of sophistication to your holiday cookie tray.

Florentines

1/2 pound butter
1/2 pound granulated sugar (about 1 cup)
5 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 pound sliced almonds, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dried or glacéed fruit (optional)
6 ounces dark chocolate (optional)

Melt the first four ingredients in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to make sure the sugar dissolves completely.

Add the almonds to the saucepan, stirring until the nuts are thoroughly coated with the caramel mixture. Turn down the heat and cook the nuts in the caramel for two or three minutes, then remove the pot from the stove. Stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture rest for approximately a half-hour until it’s cool enough to handle. If desired, stir in fruit.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375 F. Use a teaspoon to scoop the cookie dough and roll it into small balls. They will spread to about three inches in diameter, so leave lots of room between. Bake the cookies for approximately eight minutes until they’re light brown. They’ll be soft when you take them out of the oven and you can use a round three-inch cookie cutter to make them look perfectly professional. Place the cutter over the still-soft cookies and rotate it carefully to make a clean circle. Peel away the trim pieces.

If desired, melt the chocolate over a double boiler, then use a pastry brush to coat the flat sides of the cookies. If you have a cake-decorating comb, use it to make a zigzag design in the chocolate before it sets.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.