Katey blogs about food at Edinburgh Eats, enjoys baking and cakes a little too much and loves Christmas in Scotland.
Homemade Christmas Gifts – Florentines
I love giving homemade gifts at Christmas – it’s a meaningful way to show that you care enough to make something you know that friends and family will enjoy. There are plenty of crafty ideas on the internet and one of my favourite places for inspiration for edible homemade gifts is here. Something Christmassy that I’ve been making recently are these florentines. These are crunchy caramel fruit and nut biscuits*, coated in chocolate. They’re surprisingly easy to make, taste delicious and you’ll be hailed as a baking genius. I recommend baking them in a muffin/cupcake pan if you have one, silicon if possible otherwise make sure it is well greased with butter. This will give your florentines a perfectly round and uniform shape and will make the coating in chocolate easier. Otherwise, you can drop teaspoons of them onto non-stick baking paper and go for a more freestyle look. Try and measure the ingredients as accurately as possible, digital scales are ideal for this.
*editors note for the American readers: biscuits = cookies
Florentines (makes 12)
50g golden syrup
50g caster sugar
50g plain flour
40g mixed orange and lemon peel, chopped into small pieces
20g glace cherries, chopped into small pieces
40g flaked almonds
150g dark or milk chocolate, broken into small pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 170c Fan/190c/ Gas Mark 5.
2. Measure out the golden syrup, directly into a medium sized pan. Add the butter and sugar to the pan and heat over a medium heat until the butter is melted.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the flour, fruit and nuts. Stir well to combine.
4. Divide the mixture between the 12 recesses of a silicon muffin/cupcake tray (well greased with a bit of butter if not using a silicon tray), it will be approximately a heaped teaspoon measure each. Using the back of the teaspoon gently encourage the mixture to cover the base of each.
5. Place into middle shelf of the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown, starting to crisp around the edges and looking a little holey! A strange instruction however if you bake them you’ll know what I mean.
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the trays. They’ll be soft when they come out so leave them alone to harden up (about 10 minutes) before you pop them out of the trays onto a wire rack. Beware – they will be very hot at this stage!
7. If using a silicon tray, wash this out whilst the florentines are finishing off cooling as they’ll be greasy from the florentines and we need them for the chocolate stage.
8. Melt the chocolate in short 30 second bursts in the microwave.
9. If using a silicon tray, place 2 teaspoons of melted chocolate in the base of each recess and spread across the bottom using a spoon. Drop each florentine back into the tray on top of the chocolate and place in the fridge – once set, you can pop them out quite easily. If not using a silicon pan, just use a knife to paint a chocolate coating onto the back of the biscuits and leave to set on a wire rack. With this method you can use a fork to make a wavy pattern on the back too.