Wednesday, December 3, 2008

12 Cookies of Christmas: Day 3 ~ Florentines

Put on your party shoes, it's time to get fancy! Not really . . . I don't know about you, but the last thing I have time to do is get fussy with my cookies right now. Happily, these wonderful Florentines will deceive absolutely everyone into thinking that you did fuss over them. They're elegance wrought in cookie form ~ thin, beautiful, swirled with chocolate, scented with orange. And easy. And quick. And did I mention easy?

If you have to make one impressive cookie this season (I won't guess your motives, but there's always one cookie-exchanger who thinks he or she is God's gift to baking powder, so here's your chance for a smackdown! I didn't mean that. It's the sugar talking.) let this be it. You won't believe how much bang you get for so little buck, literally and figuratively. These are not expensive to produce, and they take relatively little time and no special tricks. Oh, you are so going to rock the cookie plate this year!


~Adapted from Gourmet magazine, June 1968, found online here
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped almonds

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped candied orange peel (I replaced this with 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly grated orange zest)

  • 1/3 cup flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, combine cream, sugar, and butter. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring so it doesn't scald. Remove from heat.

  2. Stir in almonds, orange peel or orange zest, and flour. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease and lightly flour, and drop the batter from a tablespoon into mounds about 3 inches apart. Use a wet offset spatula to flatten and shape the cookies.

  3. Bake cookies at 350 degrees F for 10 to 11 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies sit on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to the rack to cool completely.

  4. When cool, frost with chocolate glaze*. Chill once frosted.

Recipe Notes:

  • These are so deceptively simple, I actually overcomplicated matters. I assumed they'd spread all over my pan, so I added a tablespoon of flour. Unnecessary. Not only didn't they spread, but they barely budged. My taste batch (oops, I meant test batch) revealed that these cookies pretty much lay where they fell. If you want nice round disks, you'll have to wet an offset spatula and flatten them, smoothing the tops and rounding the edges.

  • I turned these into minis. Instead of using a tablespoon to drop them, I used a teaspoon. I also cut the recipe in half. It turned out great and I still got about 2 dozen cookies.

  • I didn't use the suggested recipe for the glaze. Instead, I used some orange-flavored dark-chocolate ganache that I had left over from this cookie. Oh. My. Goodness. There's no going back from there.

  • A word about texture. I expected these to be crisp, like lace-style cookies. They're not! They're crispy on the bottoms, but inside, they're tender. Mmmm. Don't think they're underdone ~ that's the way they're supposed to come out.

Now go see what my fellow bakers are up to today, on this 3rd day of Cookies! Andrea of Andrea's Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Kelly of Sass & Veracity, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants, and Judy of No Fear Entertaining.


Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Beautiful. I love the orange chocolate inside them! Very elegant looking!

glamah16 said...

Cookie Smackdown! Love that image. I was eyeing these . Im glad to hear they are simple and cost effective. I guess the pevious recipe mishaps we have all had, have us erring on the side of caution when baking. But its all good.I figure the scraps can be used for cheesecake crusts, etc.Great choice.

Andrea said...

bwa ha ha ha

"here's your chance for a smackdown"

I'm still laughing. I do love florentines, and you are right, they look so glamorous for something so easy. Well done!

Anonymous said...

I love the way you write. I grin like a fool the whole time I'm reading. Hahaha! Beautiful Florentines! I love the sandwiching, too. And you know what -- I agree with you on the need for something that gets people's attention even thought you didn't slave over a hot oven all day. Perfect. These are on my list, too....

Maris said...

LOVE these and never considered making my own! I think that your 12 Days of Cookies is a bad influence on me!

Kiran said...

I have got a recipe for florentines written since last year waiting to be tried. Looking at your pictures makes me want to try them very soon. Looking forward to the remaining days recipes for your event.

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