Happy New Year! January is here and I’m sure most of you are getting back into the swing of things after a busy (but hopefully not too stressful) festive season.
If you are feeling the winter blues, fear not! My Gluten Free Florentines recipe is bound to bring a little sunshine into your life.
Florentines are traditional Italian biscuits, they typically contain nuts and candied peel which are melted together with butter and sugar then smothered in a delicious layer of chocolate.
I first attempted to make Florentines after they were featured as a technical challenge on last years ‘The Great British Bake Off’. They were relatively easy to adapt into a Gluten Free version as they don’t contain very much flour, however, they were tricky little devils to get right!
After a few trials and a bit of research I have discovered that all they require is a little bit of patience. I would recommend setting yourself a good bit of time to make Florentines and make sure you give the biscuits your full attention as they will need to be watched like a hawk! Mary Berry recommends that you weigh the ingredients out very carefully so use electric scales to measure your ingredients if you can.
Gluten Free Florentines – GF/EF/DF options
50g Demerara Sugar
50g Gluten Free Plain Flour (I used Doves)
50g Glacè Cherries – finely chopped
50g Candied Peel – finely Chopped
25g Flaked almonds -finely Chopped
25g Desiccated Coconut
200g of good quality Plain Chocolate (or Milk Chocolate if you prefer!)
Can I make these dairy free? Sure! You can substitute butter for Stork (the hard baking Block) and the chocolate for dairy free chocolate, which can be found the in FreeFrom section of most supermarkets.
1) Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas 4 and line three baking trays with baking parchment.
Tip. I have very small oven so I decided to bake each tray separately. If you have enough shelves you can bake them all at once, but you will need to swap the trays around to ensure they are all evenly baked.
2) In small heavy bottomed pan measure the butter, sugar and honey. Heat the ingredients over a low to medium heat until the butter has melted.
3) Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Gluten Free flour, Cherries, Candied Peel, Almonds and Coconut and mix well.
4) Spoon six teaspoonfuls of the Florentine mixture onto each of your baking trays – make sure you leave plenty of space in-between each one to allow them to spread out as they bake.
5) Bake the Florentines for 8-10 minutes or until golden-brown.
Tip. Make sure you keep an eye on your Florentines. A couple of seconds could mean the difference between beautiful golden brown florentines or completely burnt ones!
6) Remove your florentines from the oven and leave them to cool before using a palate knife to lift them onto a cooling rack.
Tip. Don’t attempt to remove your Florentines from the trays whilst they are still warm as they will just fall to pieces.
7) To make the chocolate coating, gently melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Tip. Try not to let the bowl touch the water as it will burn the chocolate.
8) Spread melted chocolate over the bottom of each florentine, then using a fork, make the classic zigzag pattern through the chocolate.
Tip. Traditionally Florentines are quite lacy which means some chocolate may bleed through to the other side of the biscuit. I recommend gently painting the chocolate on each one using a pastry brush!
9) Leave your florentines to set on the cooling rack with the chocolate side facing up then serve with an espresso. Delicious!