October 17, 2011
I was in the mood for crunch.
Not the savoury crunch of potato chips, or the virtuous crunch of healthy nuts, but something sweet and delicious that I could whip up in a hurry.
I've been thinking of making Florentines for a while now. Do you know those little biscuits- dried fruit and nuts, wavy chocolate patterned bottom, and usually popular around Christmas time? Yep, that's the one.
I've seen all types of these little babies, from fancy-pantsy artisan ones made with flaked nuts and expensive glace fruits baked into flat lacy discs, to big fat ones kinda like rock-cakes full of cornflakes and sultanas. I wanted a nice, family friendly, cheapish type version that was (of course) gluten and lactose free, so I fiddled around with a few and came up with my own version that I'm quite happy with, and they taste good too!
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
1/2 cup Gluten free Flour
2/3 cup Flaked Almonds
2/3 cup Gluten free Cornflakes
2/3 cup Sultanas
2/3 cup Glace Cherries
Heat the butter and sugar together in a saucepan until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.
Add in the flour and stir it through thoroughly.
Add in the nuts, fruits and cornflakes,
and mix it all together until they're all coated.
Traditionally the mix would be placed on greased trays with room for spreading, but to make them tidy you have to tidy them up after baking so they are a nice uniform shape. I decided to make it easy for myself by placing spoonfuls in well greased patty cases instead to see what would happen.
Bake for 12- 15 minutes at 180* until a nice light golden colour, they will still be really soft, then let them cool in the pans.
Now, the issue I had with this is that even though I greased the pans, the little suckers stuck fast. The butter and sugar mix caramelises beautifully when baked, giving the Florentines their lovely crunch. I had to stick the pans back in the warm oven for about a minute so they would soften down enough to be able to loosen them with a spoon. Bugger.
I tossed a bit of leftover mix into a silicon patty pan to see if that was a bit better, and they were great! I let them cool totally in the pans and when they were done they just popped right out no problem. That's the secret!
For presentation if you're just making a few, cooking them flat on the tray would definitely look the best, but for bulk lots (or OCD tidy types) this method in the silicon works like a dream- I'll leave the decision up to you, but I like tidy every time!
Traditionally these little biscuits have their bases dipped in chocolate and a wavy patten marked on. I did a few just to show you how pretty they look, but really they're plenty sweet without it.
Easy to make, easy to up-market by just swapping out fancier glace fruits and other nuts for the cornflakes, and way too easy to eat! I think Florentines are a great biscuit for something a bit different from the everyday. The only downside is they're probably a bit better suited to coffee than tea.
So Dear Readers, are you a coffee or tea type of person?