Give me a Florentine any day over a cream cake. I just love them. The only problem is, many shop bought Florentines contain gluten, and therefore are off limits for us gluten free gang. But I’ve got some great news, I had a go at rustling some homemade ones up the other day and they turned out super!
There are many recipes for Florentines online and in cookery books too. I decided on Mary Berry’s version in the end, as I liked the sound of the ingredient list and only the flour needed switching to make them completely gluten free. My only other tweaks to Mary’s recipe, were to include both cranberries and cherries (great call!) and add sliced almonds rather than chopped ones. And then to make them extra special, I coated them with dark and white chocolate.
Now, a quick head’s up. The Florentines I made weren’t as neat and tidy as the ones you buy in the shops. And they were thinner too. But they still tasted incredible! I love everything about these yummy treats…from their sweet chewy nutty base, flavoursome fruit (don’t get me started about the mixed peel!) and a very generous coating of chocolate which quite frankly seals the deal on these gorgeous biscuits.
Ingredients (makes 18)
For the Florentines
50g (2oz) butter, cubed
50g (2oz) light muscovado sugar (or soft brown sugar)
50g (2oz) golden syrup
50g (2oz) gluten free plain flour
25g (1oz) *dried cranberries (Ocean Spray craisins are yummy!)
25g (1oz) *glace cherries, finely chopped (Tesco glace morello cherries are lovely)
50g (2oz) *mixed peel (highly recommend Tesco Italian mixed peel)
25g (1oz) *flaked almonds
25g (1oz) *walnuts, finely chopped
110g (4oz) *dark chocolate, broken into pieces
175g (6oz) *white chocolate, broken into pieces
I’ve suggested a larger quantity of white chocolate, as you don’t get as good a coverage on the Florentines as you do with the dark chocolate. Should you choose to go with all dark or milk chocolate you will only require 200g in total.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4/160C Fan.
Line three large flat baking trays with greaseproof paper. Three trays may sound a lot, but you need to give these biscuits plenty of space to spread out…and they really do spread out, don’t be tempted to overcrowd them, as if you do, the biscuits will merge into each other. I know, because it happened to me with a couple of them. If you don’t have enough trays, then you can make the biscuits in batches instead. Just keep reusing the tray once it’s cooled.
Place the syrup, butter, muscovado sugar in a pan, pop on a low heat and allow everything to slowly melt.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the gluten free flour. Give the mixture a good brisk stir until it’s smooth and glossy.
Add the cherries, cranberries, mixed peel, almonds and walnuts to the pan and mix well.
Grab a couple of teaspoons and spoon out six teaspoons of mixture onto each tray. Again, making sure the mounds are not too close together and try not to be tempted to make larger mounds and less biscuits. I made 14 rather than 18 and they were a little bit too large.
Pop the trays into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown and bubbling a little.
Remove the trays from the oven and allow the biscuits to cool before slipping a palette knife underneath each one and transferring them onto a cooling rack. If you want, you can put them upside down onto the rack and then they are all ready to have the chocolate spread over them.
For the melted chocolate: Place the broken chocolate pieces in a heatproof dish and set it over a pan of simmering water. You will need a bowl that is big enough to just sit on the pan without the base of the bowl touching the water. Leave the chocolate to slowly melt. Give it a stir and then carefully lift the bowl off the pan. Repeat the process, if like me you decide to go with two different types of chocolate.
Once the Florentines have cooled, you can coat the flat side with the melted chocolate. Use a couple of teaspoons to divide the chocolate evenly over each Florentine and smooth it out with the back of the teaspoon or a rounded edge knife. Leave the chocolate to semi-set and then using the back of the fork add a few decorative swirls.
Alternatively, you could use a silicone pastry brush to paint the chocolate onto the back of the Florentines. Allowing a little time in-between each layer for the chocolate to set. This may stop the chocolate from seeping through to the other side of the biscuit. I will try this method out next time.
When the chocolate has set, transfer the Florentines into an airtight container.
Whilst Florentines can be enjoyed all year round, they are very often considered a Festive treat. If this recipe has got you in the Christmas baking spirit, you may also fancy checking out my frangipane topped mince pie recipe…they’re very nice!
*Double check this ingredient to ensure it has no gluten containing ingredients, ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable warnings’. If in doubt leave it out