These luxuriously chewy biscuits are ideal as a Christmas gift or for keeping in the biscuit tin for those unexpected guests.
I love to make Florentines at Christmas time. They look so pretty with the jewel-like fruits and smothered in chocolate. A real indulgence. Once you know the tricks, they are quick and simple to make. Timing, vigilance and accurate measurements are key.
I use dark chocolate but milk or white would also work well. You can vary the decoration by covering the back or drizzling the top with chocolate. Alternatively you could dip one side of the florentine in chocolate. You could also be creative with the ingredients: swap in different types of nuts or dried fruit for a different flavour.
adapted from ‘Florentines’ by Mary Berry
Makes about 20 Florentines
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50g demerara sugar
- 50g golden syrup
- 50g plain flour
- 50g chopped nuts
- 40g mixed peel
- 30g glacé cherries
- 50-100g chocolate (depends on how you wish to decorate)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment (I highly recommend using this rather than greasing the tray as it helps to remove the florentines after cooking – ensure the baking parchment is non-stick).
2. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan over a low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
3. Chop the cherries into small pieces. Sieve the flour.
4. Mix the flour, nuts, peel and cherries into the melted mixture until well blended.
5. Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared tray, well spaced apart as the florentines will spread when cooking. I usually put about 6 per tray. I cook one tray at a time so I can keep a close eye on them during cooking and so I have time to remove them from the tray at the right moment.
6. Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes. Be vigilant as they can brown very quickly. The florentines should be golden brown.
7. Leave them to cool very slightly before carefully removing from the tray with a palette knife onto a wire rack. They should just be able to hold their shape but not be completely hard. If you leave them to cool for too long they will be difficult to remove. If this happens, put them back in the oven for a moment.
8. Repeat steps 5-7 with the remaining mixture.
9. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Use 50g chocolate if you wish to drizzle over the top, or 100g chocolate if you wish to cover the back of the florentines. Use a palette knife to spread the chocolate and a fork to create the characteristic zig-zag pattern. Leave to set, chocolate side up.