This florentine cookie recipe makes very pretty and very moreish little treats. They fly off the plate, and they are a perfect addition to an afternoon tea spread. Florentines are basically almonds and dried fruit held together with toffee and backed with chocolate.Florentines have always been my favourite cookies. Back in England we used to treat ourselves to Fudges Belgian Dark Chocolate Florentines occasionally. I'm sure we would have had them every day - but they were quite expensive! We set out to find our own recipe.
In our search for the best florentine cookie recipe, I found that many people put flour into the cookies. But one of the things I have always loved about florentines is the very fact that there is no flour in them. I'm always on the look-out for gluten-free options for afternoon tea. We didn't even try any of the recipes with flour.
Florentines are backed in a layer of chocolate. You can really use any chocolate you like - but it goes without saying that the better the quality of chocolate, the better the taste of your finished cookie. Dark or milk chocolate is down to personal taste. Personally I love them backed in dark chocolate. I think it's the perfect foil for the sweet toffee.
We have had much heated debate in our house about what fruit should be included in this florentine cookie recipe! Choices we have seen are candied peel, preserved ginger, cherries and cranberries - although I'm sure you could think of other things that could work. And of course there are raisins, sultanas or currants.
In the end, we chose cherries over cranberries because Jamie adores them. But you could easily swap these over for cranberries. I certainly think you need one or the other, because the red looks so very pretty on the finished cookie.
With regard to raisins and sultanas, we chose sultanas because they are in the middle size-wise, and we like to make our florentines quite small. But you can use whatever you have in the cupboard.
A note on candied peel
You can use any mixture of candied peel - but you do need to make sure it's not too old. It gets very chewy if it's been hanging around too long and that can spoil your cookie experience.
We put a little preserved ginger in this florentine cookie recipe. It's listed on the ingredients in the Fudge's florentines, and we think it gives a little lift that makes these cookies really special.
Time: 1 hour plus final cooling time
50g (1/4 cup) butter
60g (1/4 cup) sugar
65g (1/2 cup) slivered almonds
- or you can use roughly chopped flaked almonds
1 tbsp sultanas
5 chopped glace cherries
1/2 tbsp chopped mixed peel
1 x 1/2 inch cube preserved stem ginger cut into small pieces
1/2 tbsp single or whipping cream
135g (generous 1/2 cup) chocolate
I like florentines best with black tea. They are a wonderful little afternoon tea treat on their own. But they are also wonderful as part of a full afternoon tea spread - in particular because they do not contain flour.
Try them with a selection of finger sandwiches - ham sandwiches, tomato sandwiches and egg sandwiches would be good - with apricot jam tarts (the ones with pastry cream in), peach scones and earl grey tea for a fruity and very very pretty afternoon tea.