Monday, 4 April 2011

Florentines

Recipe Number 18:  Page 216.


My mother-in-law loves dark chocolate, so I thought the combination of nuts, candied peel and the chocolate would go down rather well as a gift. I couldn't wait to give these Florentines a try, but a few days before, I'd read reports of other bakers saying what a pain they are to remove from the lined baking trays. One even commented that she had ended up eating little pieces of greaseproof paper as she just couldn't peel it all off! I doubted this would make such a nice gift if it meant greaseproof paper had to be added to your diet. Mary Berry mentions at the beginning of the recipe that baking parchment (this is slightly different to greaseproof paper) makes it easier to remove the biscuits from the trays, but you can use a greased tray.

So, with some trepidation, I started to make the Florentines. At least I needn't use a mixing bowl as everything is just put in a saucepan. Butter and, for a change, Demerara sugar - oh and of course I can't forget the golden syrup. This time I couldn’t use my tip of pouring boiling water over a spoon to measure it. I had to weigh it. It was a bit of a pain scraping the gooey syrup out of the measuring scales into the saucepan, but I got there in the end! Once the butter had melted I could take the pan off the heat and add all the nuts. I cheated with the chopped almonds and used some flaked ones I already had; it saved a bit of time using them instead of chopping them up. I stirred in a little flour and the candied peel. I was also told to add four cherries, a very precise amount, but I didn't really notice them in the finished result!

Next came the scary part. I decided to test out which was better, using greaseproof paper (I didn't have any baking parchment) or just greasing a tray. I carefully placed a teaspoonful of mixture, spaced well apart, onto the differently prepared trays. It didn't seem enough mixture to make a biscuit, but I made myself leave it as it was! Into the oven they went. They certainly spread out a fair distance. Mary Berry says just to leave the Florentines on the greased baking tray a few moments before moving onto a wire rack. I would say I had to leave mine about four minutes before I could pick them up without the biscuits falling apart. Also, when they are just out of the oven, you can shape them a bit with a pallet knife, to get a neater shape. If you have a wide spaced wire rack, be careful as they can fold through the spaces and fall apart; this is most upsetting! As for the ones on the greaseproof paper, I didn't leave them until they were cool like I was told, I got impatient! They came off easily and I noticed they didn't spread as much or lose their shape as the Florentines on the greased tray.

As for the next part, that was a little tricky. Melting the chocolate, easy enough, adding onto the Florentines, fiddly! My Florentines were very delicate and had tiny little holes in them, so the chocolate I carefully applied to the underside of the biscuit came through the tiny holes. It looked as though I had sprinkled the surface with chocolate chips - not quite what I'd had in mind! The chocolate took hours to set so, if I make them again, I shall need to bear that in mind.

I am pleased with these special biscuits. They taste really good. The dark chocolate and the orange in the candied peel make a great combination and you also have the nuts to give flavour and crispness. All in all, yum! 
Chocolate Chip Florentines!

2 comments:

  1. I only got to try one of these (unfortunately), but it was very tasty. All I can say is that without another batch I can't be sure...

    Also, could you not put the saucepan on the scales, take it's weight, then work out the syrup weight as you add it to the saucepan (on the scales)? If you had digital scales you could zero them out with the saucepan on... just a tip from a fellow experienced kitchenmeister :)

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  2. Fantastic! Why have I never thought of doing that?! I shall make sure I follow your handy tip from now on. You are wasted in your job ;-)

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