Greetings from Dana Point, CA where my husband and I are enjoying a sort of second honeymoon of sorts thanks to the graciousness of my parents. It’s the best Christmas gift ever! As we speak I am sitting by the fire, watching early morning surfers tackle some low surf, and digesting a breakfast of fried kimchee, tofu, brown rice and eggs. I feel a little out of my element, lost in all this luxuriousness, but nonetheless very grateful. Another reason I am grateful is that my friend Prudy asked me to submit a cookie recipe for her recent brainchild project on her blog, Another Cookie Monday. Prudy and I hit it off immediately when we met (not in person, but still . . . ). She is endowed with a giant generous heart, a youthful and enthusiastic sense of humor, and great cooking skills. So thank you Prudy and may I offer you some Italian Florentine cookies?
These cookies are very simple to make and wonderfully delicate, a perfect light accompaniment to coffee, tea or offered as dessert.
- 1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds
- 1 Tbsp coconut flakes
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 Tbsp)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup sugar (I like to use half regular sugar and half brown sugar)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup or honey
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, or your favorite chocolate bar, chopped
1. Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
2. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the nuts, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.
3. In a small saucepan, heat over medium the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter, until mixture comes to a boil and sugar is dissolved. Boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Cool for about 1/2 hour.
4. Scoop rounded teaspoons or rounded tablespoons of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 to 4 inches between each cookie.
5. Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout, rotating pans halfway through baking time, about 10 to 11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve.
1. Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
2. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very low simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue heat until completely melted, about 1 to 2 minutes more.)
3. For sandwiches: Drop about 1/2 teaspoon chocolate onto on the flat side of half of the cookies and press together with remaining halves. Return to rack and let chocolate set.
4. For chocolate decor: Drizzle melted chocolate over Florentines as desired. Set aside at room temperature until chocolate is set.