I just love Florentines so I was really glad to see them featured as the Signature Bake on the Bake Off’s Biscuit Week. I don’t really think of them as biscuits though, more like chocolates. They’re something I always associate with Christmas and foodie presents though. I think they’re so pretty and the colours shine through like jewels depending on the sort of dried fruit you use. They can be fiddly to make so that’s why when I make them they don’t look that neat! So long as they taste great, that’s what matters.
I don’t have my own recipe for Florentines but I use the recipe in the Great British Bake Off Christmas book which came out a few years ago. I had to adapt the recipe this time as I had to look at what dried fruit I had in the cupboard. I had to add sultanas instead of dried cranberries as I didn’t have any. I weighed out some chopped glace cherries, some dried mixed peel and some sultanas as well as some flaked almonds. In a pan I gently heated together some butter, sugar and some double cream. Then the cream mixture was combined with the fruit and nuts.
On lined baking trays I put teaspoonfuls of the Florentine mixture spaced well apart. These tend to spread very easily on the tray so I didn’t want them too close together. The other thing I’ve learned to watch with Florentines is that they can burn very easily so they don’t need that long in the oven. I put them in for 8 minutes and even the almonds were beginning to go brown.
From the original Bake Off recipe you needed 100g each of dark chocolate and white chocolate. I didn’t have white chocolate, only some dark chocolate. I couldn’t be bothered to go out to buy just a bar of chocolate. I then remembered I had a packet of strawberry flavoured pink chocolate buttons in my cupboard. I had bought these a few weeks on holiday when I was on holiday on the Isle of Arran and had forgotten I had them.
Once the Florentines were out of the oven, I let them cool down completely before I dared to move them onto a wire rack. From experience I’ve had them completely broken trying to move them off the tray. When they were cooled, I turned the Florentines upside down and spread melted dark chocolate on half of them. The other half had the melted pink chocolate buttons on them. I tried to give them a pattern but it didn’t quite work until the chocolate had set a bit.
I really loved making the Florentines and they were worth the effort. I definitely will be making them again at Christmas for my foodie hampers. They’re not a budget bake especially as dried fruit, nuts and chocolate can be expensive. This is why they are probably seen as a treat for special occasions.
Did you try any of the bakes from Biscuit Week? If so, which did you try? Or do you have a favourite you want to have a go at?
Love Sam xx