Florentine Cookies

Florentine cookies

The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Rest and Cool: 25 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 24 cookies
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
131 Calories
7g Fat
16g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 131
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 84mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Florentines are a classic Christmas cookie, although they are delicious year-round. They're thin and crisp, with a nutty, toffee-like flavor spiked with candied orange peel and coated in chocolate. What's not to like? Florentines are impressive to look at, but they're easier to make than they seem.

While the name florentine may lead you to believe the cookie is Italian, the origins are believed to be French. The ingredients are more typically French, and a number of the country's dishes are named after the Florentine queen. Wherever they're from, florentines are beloved throughout the world, especially during the holidays.

For the best results, use silicone mats to line your baking sheets. They keep the thin cookies from spreading too fast, making them a nicer shape and less likely to burn. Speaking of burning, keep a close eye on these cookies and don't forget to rotate the pans. They go from an attractive golden brown to burnt in the blink of an eye. Lastly, avoid making florentines on a humid day. You won't get the crisp texture you're looking for.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced almonds

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 7 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, these cookies are broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Florentine Cookies

  1. Gather the ingredients. Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with silicone mats (preferred) or parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

  2. Add the sliced almonds to a bowl break them up a bit using your hands. Most of the nuts should be broken with some small pieces and a few almonds left whole.

  3. Add the butter, sugar, honey, and cream to a medium saucepan.

  4. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring, just until the sugar has dissolved.

  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, candied orange peel, salt, and almonds. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. The mixture will thicken.

  6. Measure out the mixture by the heaping teaspoon (almost 2 teaspoons each) and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 3 inches between each cookie since they will spread quite a bit. Use damp fingers to form each mound into a slightly flattened circle.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven, rotating the baking sheet once during baking, for 9 to 11 minutes. The cookies should be bubbly and golden brown. Watch them closely since they can burn easily.

  8. For a more perfectly round shape, use a spatula to gently nudge the cookies into a circle while they are still hot. Let cool on the baking sheet at least 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks using a thin spatula. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Temper the Chocolate and Decorate

  1. Once the cookies are cool, melt the chocolate. Add half of the chocolate to the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the top of a saucepan containing 1 inch of water.

  2. Bring the water to a simmer and then set the bowl or top of the double boiler with chocolate over the water. Stir as the chocolate melts, removing from the heat once it reaches 130 F.

  3. Add the remaining chopped chocolate a little at a time, stirring until each addition dissolves. Keep stirring until the chocolate reaches about 83 F. Place it back over the boiling water and bring it up to about 88 F. Remove from the heat.

  4. Use an offset spatula to spread a layer of chocolate onto the flat backside of a cooled florentine. If desired, use a fork to make a zigzag pattern in the chocolate. You'll need to work fairly quickly so that the chocolate doesn't harden.

  5. Place the cookie chocolate side-up on the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining cookies.

  6. Let sit until the chocolate has completely set.

How to Store

  • Florentines are best when served soon after the chocolate has set. Store any leftover in an airtight container for up to two days. Depending on how humid your kitchen is, they may become chewy the longer they sit.
  • Florentines don't freeze well so it's best to eat them fresh.

Tips

  • Silicone baking mats work better than parchment paper for this recipe. The mixture will spread more on parchment.
  • Don't overcrowd the pan. Space out your cookies since they will spread quite a bit in the oven. For a standard cookie sheet or half sheet pan, you can fit six cookies on each.
  • If you want perfectly shaped florentines, you can use a large round cutter to trim them right after they come out of the oven. However, you should be able to achieve a nice shape by simply nudging them with a spatula.
  • The process for preparing the chocolate in this recipe is called tempering and should keep your chocolate nice and shiny. If you don't care about a shiny finish on your chocolate, simply melt it all in the microwave and use as-is.
  • You can find candied orange peel at some supermarkets and Italian grocers as well as online. You can also make candied orange peel at home.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of coating the backs of the cookies in chocolate, simply drizzle it over the tops.
  • Slivered almonds will also work for this recipe. Just give them a chop before using.
  • You can swap the candied orange peel for up to 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries.
  • You can use any kind of chopped nuts instead of almonds, such as hazelnuts, walnuts, or pistachios.

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