Florentines have always been something that's shrouded with mystery and complexity to me - I never really knew what they were for a long time and they were most certainly not on the list of things I'll have a crack at. You see, until recently, I've always had a little problem with the biscuit world, maybe some hang-up's you could say; just they never really got me thinking "Yes! It's Biscuit Time; Let's Go!", I've just, dare I say it, always been a bit bored by biscuits.
Well you'll be relieved to know, I have grown up and understand that biscuit world is a good world to be apart of, especially when you've got beautiful little treats like Florentine! I suppose I've probably been tainted by the Supermarket biscuit - so much choice on those shop floors, but let's face, it's all quite uninspiring; and that's it, I've never found biscuits inspiring. But what I've learnt recently is that, when you make your own biscuits, biscuit world gets shot up on to a whole new level a good level.
So given my new biscuit revelations, I've decide to dedicate more time to biscuit making, and after being inspired by a Great British Bake Off episode, I thought I'd have a crack at some Florentines. Going back to always being a little fearful of these, I'll clear something up right now. Florentines are pretty darn easy to make and require minimal effort for maximum tasty goodness; the most complex part is getting that chocolate right, but well I've just gone for the slap it on technique. Rustic; that's what we'll call it.
So these little Italian treats are just so delicious, and I highly recommend if you were once like me and thought, "Na, maybe I'll try Florentines another time" well, don't, because they're just too scrumptious; you really cannot go wrong with fruit and nuts covered in caramel with a helping of chocolate. You really can't, so get baking and in about an hours time, you're going to be really happy I promise.
50g Golden Syrup
50g Plain Flour
50g Demerara sugar
50g Cranberries, chopped
50g Mixed Peel, chopped
25g Almonds, finely chopped (I used flaked almonds)
25g Walnuts, finely chopped
150g Dark Chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/Gas Mark 4. This recipe should make you about 18 biscuits, and I'd highly recommend making these in three batches or on three separate sheets - they'll spread out as your baking. I lined three baking sheets/pans with baking parchment/silicon sheets; essential to making your life easy when it comes to peeling these off.
2. In a small saucepan gently heat the golden syrup, sugar and butter until the butter has completely melted.
3. When the butter has melted, remove it from the heat and then add the flour, fruit and nuts to the pan stirring well to mix everything together.
4. Using two teaspoons, spoon a teaspoon full of the mixture onto the prepared trays, using one spoon to scrap the mixture of the other. Leave plenty of room between them as they will spread.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes (a couple minutes more if needed but constantly check) or until you can see that they're going a golden brown. Leave them to cool for about 4 minutes and then they'll be cool enough for you to shape into a more circular shape if need be. Then move them carefully onto a cooling rack; as they cool, they'll become crispier which is what we want.
6. Melt the chocolate in either the microwave in short bursts for a quick melted chocolate or you can do it over simmering water in a heatproof bowl not touching the water and temper it if you wish for a glossier appearance. If so, break up half of the chocolate into the heatproof bowl for melting and stir until it reaches 53C/127C and finely chop the remaining chocolate. Remove the chocolate from the heat and then add in the rest of the chocolate and gently stir it until it reaches 26C/79F.
7. Apply the chocolate onto the Florentines when they are completely cooled otherwise it'll be a mess. Brush the smooth underside of the biscuits liberally with the chocolate and leave to set - you can add in the classic zigzag patterns once it's cooled slightly, however I prefer seeing the lacey texture!
These kept well for about a week in an airtight container.