Well, hello December!! I am not sure how you got here so fast but you've arrived with all your trappings! My inbox is filled with Christmas and holiday recipes. My Facebook page is filled with impending travel plans. Every second day is an auspicious day for weddings as per Indian almanac and with it the never ending stream of ceremonies, parties and traffic jams. The migratory flock of NRIs (non-resident Indians) have returned to teach us a thing or two on how to exploit an advantageous exchange rate. Yes, it looks to be a typical December!!
And December is also the month when food blogs throw up some of their finest food posts, keeping the holiday mood in mind. You will also see a surge in cookie recipes as families get ready for the impending family reunions.
And that's how I got the idea to make these florentines. Most florentines that you would have come across are these thin cookies that have nuts and dried fruits, bound together by sugar and butter. But, the recipe I have gone with, is a mini version from my all-time favourite 'Popina Book of Baking'. The recipe bakes them in a mini muffin tin that results in these adorable bite-sized confections.
This recipe by Isidora Popovic, the lady behind the Popina bakery, is a very simple one. The florentines are chewy, surprisingly not too sweet and with each bite you will taste one of the different components. Dipping one side with chocolate helps complete them. And yes, I will acknowledge that I could have been less clumsy with the dipping.
If there ever is a month of late nights, it has to be December. And what better accompaniment to all those late night coffees than these florentines!!!
Recipe adapted from 'Popina Book of Baking'
Makes approximately 20-24 cookies
- 60 gms unsalted butter
- 60 gms demerara sugar
- 60 gms runny honey
- 60 gms plain flour
- 50 gms dried cranberries
- 50 gms raisins
- 50 gms flaked almonds, plus extra to sprinkle
- 60 gms walnuts, chopped
- zest of one orange
- 80 gms dark chocolate, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or if using mini muffins tins, grease the tins and set aside.
- Put the butter, sugar, orange zest and honey in a saucepan over medium heat and gently bring to the boil. Be careful not to let the ingredients burn.
- When it reaches boiling point, stir until the sugar has dissolved completely, then remove from the heat.
- Stir in the flour, cranberries, almonds, raisins and walnuts. Mix until well combined. Leave to cool for a while before handling.
- If using a baking tray, take a generous teaspoon of the mixture, roughly roll into a ball and place on one of the prepared baking trays. Flatten it gently, then repeat this process with the remaining mixture, spacing the discs apart as they may spread when they are baking. Sprinkle a few flaked almonds over each florentine.
- If using a mini-muffin tin, drop spoonfuls of the mixture into each mould.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- As the Florentines cool, melt some chocolate over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until melted. Dip one side of each florentine in the melted chocolate and leave to set, chocolate side up, on a cooling rack.
- Store in an airtight container.