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One of the supposed origins of Florentine biscuits can be traced back to a pastry chef that worked for the Medici family in Florence. During the mid-15th century, he came to Brittany in France where he served these sublime lacy biscuits at the table of King Louis XII and his wife Anne, Duchess of Brittany. 

The other legend is that the delicate biscuits were created during the 16th century in Versaille for King Louis XIV, whilst he had the Medici family of Florence over as guests. 

This explains a little bit why you’ll be more likely to find those wonderful creations in French patisseries, rather than in Italy. Nonetheless, I can only assume that they were an instant hit and are now enjoyed the world over. With a wonderful concoction of nuts, and dried fruits, bound with caramel and dipped in chocolate, it’s no wonder that 600 years down the line the little biscuits are still so popular. 

They certainly are my absolute favourite biscuits and I couldn’t believe how easy they were to make! A dangerous piece of knowledge, especially with the added excitement of the many variations this biscuit can take. Pretty much any nuts and dried fruits of your liking work. These Walnut, Almond, Orange Florentines became my favourite version, followed closely by one with Pecan, Hazelnut & Cranberries. I urge you to join me and give it a try, as risky as it may be…!

Scale

Ingredients

WALNUT, ALMOND & ORANGE FLORENTINES

45g Butter

60g Demerara Sugar

15g Flour

Pinch of Salt

1 Tbsp Double Cream

200g Dark Chocolate

60g Walnuts

60g Almonds

110g Candied Orange Peel

PECAN, HAZELNUT & CRANBERRY FLORENTINES

45g Butter

60g Demerara Sugar

15g Flour

Pinch of Salt

1 Tbsp Double Cream

200g Dark Chocolate

60g Pecans

60g Hazelnuts

110g Dried Cranberries

You can change the nuts and dried fruits and get creative here. Why not try swapping walnuts for pistachios or cranberries for dried apricots!

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 180˚C/ gas mark 4 and line two baking trays with baking parchment paper.
  2. Chop all your nuts and dried fruit to small pieces. You can use a food processor for the nuts, pulsing until they are small pieces but making sure they don’t turn into a powder.

    TIP – If using hazelnuts, I recommend that you roast them in the oven for 10 minutes at 170˚C. Not only are roasted hazelnuts delicious, removing the skins will be a cinch! Once out of the oven and cooled down, remove the skins by rubbing the hazelnuts between your hands or in a clean tea towel.

  3. Place the chopped nuts and dried fruits into a large bowl. Add the flour and mix together until the flour evenly coats all the pieces.
  4. Add the butter and sugar into a pan, over medium heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is well combined.
  5. Next, remove the pan off the heat and add in the double cream and salt. Mix well and pour the mixture over the nuts and fruits. Stir to combine.
  6. Scoop the dough into rounded teaspoons and place onto your baking trays (about two teaspoons for medium-sized biscuits). Flatten them out as much as possible but ensure there are no holes (you can dip your spoon in water to prevent the mixture from sticking). Make sure to leave about 7cm between each one as they will spread out quite a bit when baking.
  7. Bake until lightly golden for about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. Leave the biscuits to cool on the tray. Repeat these stages for the remaining batter.
  8. To prepare the chocolate, break into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl, placed over a pot of simmering water (making sure the bowl does not touch the hot water). Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted. Take off the heat and cool for a few minutes.
  9. Using a small spatula or the back of a teaspoon, spread the chocolate on the smooth underside of the florentines. Set aside for a few minutes, and if you want to create an authentic look, you can create a decorative zigzag pattern using a fork (I went for some diagonal brushstrokes instead!). Leave to set on a cooling rack until fully set.

    They will keep well for a few weeks, stored in an airtight container box (I highly doubt they’ll last that long though!).

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