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PostSubject: Christmas Chocolate Florentines   Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:12 pm

Christmas Chocolate Florentines

Cooks Note: Nigel Slater "Sweet, intensely buttery and crisp, these are perhaps the most luxurious biscuits in the world. They are traditionally made with glacé cherries, but I prefer to use dried cranberries and soft-dried pears from the wholefood shop. They tend to spread over the baking sheet while in the oven, so pull the biscuits back into shape with a cookie cutter, bringing the wayward mixture back into shape before letting it cool. Eat within a day or two, before they go soft. I keep an eye open for slices of proper crystallised peel sold in the piece, rather than the usual mean little tubs of candied peel. The lemon and orange flavours clearly shine through."

Makes 12.

INGREDIENTS:

flaked almonds - 125g
butter - 140g
sugar - 110g
double cream - 3 tbs
dried cranberries - 30g
glacé cherries or other crystallised fruit - 40g
mixed peel - 85g
flour - 50g
dark chocolate - 120g

METHOD:

Set the oven at 180°C/gas 4. And lightly butter and flour two baking trays.

Very lightly crush the almonds, (if you leave them whole the biscuits will fail to hold together). Melt the butter in a small pan, add the sugar and bring to the boil. Add the cream, the fruits, the mixed peel and the flour and stir for half a minute then remove from the heat. Leave to cool for five minutes before continuing.

Drop generous heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving a 10cm gap between each heap (I put 4 dollops on each sheet). Pat the mixture down a little with the back of the spoon then bake for about 8 minutes, by which time the biscuits will have spread. Each biscuit will have a central heap of nuts with a thinner layer of darker mixture around it.

Using a knife or cookie cutter, push the darker, outer layer that has spread over the tray back into the biscuits then leave for several minutes to cool a little.

Lift the biscuits from the tray with a fish slice or similar wide, flat implement, and slide them onto to a cooling rack lined with baking paper. They will be fragile so go carefully.

Leave to cool completely before covering one side of each biscuit in melted chocolate. I use a brush, spreading the melted chocolate over thickly.

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