If you’ve read any of my other baking blogs over the last few months, you’ll know that I decided to challenge myself this year with some bakes I’d not tried before. For this fourth bake I decided to make Florentines…I was never a huge fan of sweet treats like this as a child (mainly because they involved dried fruit, and why would you want that in your biscuit?) but as an adult I’ve come to realise how completely delicious they are – sticky and chewy and sweet and crunchy all in one chunky hunk of gorgeousness. It helped that one of my friends at uni worked at Betty’s and would bring back their leftovers after a shift, so when I think of Florentines my mind goes straight back to theirs, which as you can imagine were out of this world!
After having a quick look for a recipe online, I decided to go with a Great British Bake Off one from Mez Bez herself because why wouldn’t you? (You can find the recipe here). The great thing about Florentines is that if you like baking anyway, you probably already have most of the ingredients and so all I had to pop to the shop for was some cherries and chocolate. FYI the recipe called for candied peel and I’m not that keen on it so I just doubled the amount of cherries – so long as the fruit mix and the nut mix come to the same weights as listed, you really can’t go wrong with swapping things out so that you’ve got all your favourites going in the mix.
After making the caramel and mixing in all the bits and pieces, I dolloped spoonfuls on a baking tray ready to go in the oven. First learning – the recipe says they spread when you cook them but I didn’t expect them to actually quadruple in size – space them out more than I did! Just a few minutes later they were ready to come out and cool. Since the Florentines had spread so much I obviously needed to tidy up the edges and eat any caramel. Honestly it tasted SO good, and took me right back to my granny’s brandy snaps – isn’t it weird how food can do that with memories? My mouth is watering as I write just thinking about this.
Next learning – I was way too impatient with the whole waiting for them to cool bit, and would advise that you just go and do something else, rather than prod them about looking for any extra caramel to eat…When they’re properly cool and set hard, then melt the chocolate. FYI the recipe says 200g but I found 150g was plenty, and still left some chocolate to spoon out of the bowl. The next part was to spread the chocolate over one side of the Florentines and then leave it to semi-set (I’d give it 20 minutes) before running a fork through to make the characteristic wavy pattern. Finally, I stuck the beauties in the fridge so the chocolate could fully set and voila, delicious Florentines!
Practical tips for making Florentines
- Get all the ingredients prepped at the beginning – it makes life so much easier. The only thing you don’t need to bother with until later is chopping the chocolate, which can wait until the Florentines have come out the oven
- Don’t feel you have to stick to the fruit and nuts that the recipe lists – mix it up to your tastes
- Try some variation – I went with the plain dark chocolate from the recipe but you could just as easily use milk and white chocolate too
- Be patient with the Florentines once they come out of the oven – I also think a cooling tray would help at this point, which I don’t happen to have but would be kinda useful for all this baking!
Do you think you’ll give them a go?