Florentines (florentins), the crunchy almond cookies with a chocolate base, are said to have been introduced to France during the reign of King Louis XII (1462-1515).
King Louis’s second wife was Anne, Duchess of Brittany (1477-1514). A master pastry chef who had worked for the Medici family in Florence came to visit the couple in Brittany and brought with him the recipe for these tasty treats. They were a hit with the duchess, and so began their popularity in France. Today, Florentines are considered a speciality of Brittany, however many regional variations exist.
Florentines are traditionally made with honey, almonds, orange rind or candied fruit, and chocolate. The recipe below uses cream and sugar instead of honey, resulting in a cookie that is a little less sweet and not sticky.
Preparation time: 10 minutes + time to melt and apply chocolate base
Baking time: 12-15 minutes
Yield: 1 ½ to 2 dozen cookies.
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup candied fruit or citrus peel, diced
- ¼ cup flour
- 225 grams semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Combine almonds, cream, sugar, candied fruit and flour in a bowl.
- Grease and flour a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture on the sheet, spaced about 5 cm apart. Using a knife dipped in water, flatten the cookies.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Place chocolate pieces in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Using a knife, spread chocolate onto flat side of each cookie. Allow to harden completely. Store the florentines in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
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