Florentines. Had I ever heard of florentines before watching this show? Of course... I’ve made them… LIES. I am totally messing with you. No, of course NOT. I have never heard of florentines before watching this show. I mean, let’s be real, there are many, many recipes that I have never heard of before watching this show. I can’t be the only one! But once I learned about them… it’s like I see them everywhere! It’s already happening with Babka. I just watched that episode of #seinfeld with the chocolate babka. But I digress.
We’ll talk about Babka later (Because Mr. Hollywood will make me bake it). Right now, it’s on to the technical for my very first #biscuitweek. Florentines. A Mary Berry recipe. There are definitely more than few recipes out there, but I decided to go with the one I found on BBC, titled “Mary’s Florentines Recipe.” Some of the other recipes I read through seemed to have less ingredients, but I wanted to make sure I was getting the full effect. Also, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make my own candied citrus peel for the first time. So let’s start there.
Perusing the rest of the ingredients, those dang glacé cherries pop up in my life again! I first became acquainted with them during my #classiccherrycake bake. Exciting that I get to use them again. As an actor IRL, I like to make everything super dramatic. So I would like to give you a glimpse into my baking life. Please take your seats, for: The Glacé Cherry Caper.
Glacé Cherries! Good thing I already have some ready to go in my pantry.
(rushes to pantry and throws open doors)
Seriously, there is some in my pantry, remember?! When I made them for that cherry cake (keeps scanning pantry)
Oh. I used them ALL in that cherry cake. Hmmm.
(Rushes to fridge and throws open doors)
I’ll use those Amarena cherries that I never used in that cherry cake. Ok, cool. I’ll make it work.
(Rereads ingredients in recipe)
“...dried cranberries OR glacé cherries.” Maybe I won’t use the Amarena cherries because... (rushes to pantry and throws open doors once again)
I know! I have dried sweet cherries!
(grabs bag of dried sweet cherries, in sweet sweet victory!)
Dried, sweet cherries seem like the best of both worlds…
(Dana pumps fist in air and smiles.)
*readers cheer relentlessly*
I am sure you already guessed it. Instead of glace cherries OR dried cranberries, I am using dried sweet cherries from my pantry. I also didn’t have any walnuts and substituted pecans. But you will have to wait for “The Walnut Caper,” another day.
It’s not that I don’t want to follow the recipe EX-ACT-LY, but listen, during the technicals on the show they have a whole team of people, behind the scenes, prepping their ingredients for them. I wish that I had that whole team too...but it’s just me driving around to different stores and/or ordering things off the Amazon box. So I am big supporter of use what you have. Which is exactly what I did.
With the candied citrus peel out of the way...I was able to jump right into chopping everything up according to the recipe. This one was interesting because essentially everything is done in a pot over the stove. I’ve never made a cookie like that. EXCUSE ME - biscuit.
But before I go on… I need to talk about golden syrup. I was not acquainted with golden syrup before GBBO. And lo and behold, golden syrup is used in this Mary Berry recipe.
I thought about just forgetting about using golden syrup because I had read that other things could be substituted… but I decided that since the Amazon box could get it to me same day (!) (Note: it did not get to my house same day… but within the 2 days), I splurged and ordered some golden syrup- the same brand as my treacle (which I do have future plans for :)). And honestly, I am glad that I decided to get actual golden syrup because I think it is So. Damn. Tasty. It’s not quite syrup you put on American pancakes or agave or even corn syrup (which I try to stay away from)... but it has this richness without being cloyingly sweet. The color is truly “GOLDEN” and it it’s like a rich, carmel-y, butterscotch-y, toffee-y, taste to it and I am thinking it would be delicious with some cornbread (another example of my fat genius).
So thumbs up for my first foray with golden syrup.
Back to spooning the melty blobs of stuff on the cookie sheet. It said to spoon out 1 teaspoon and shape for each Florentine. I thought that looked rather small and I wasn’t really sure how big these were going to be, even though I know that they will spread in the oven. So I decided to count out 18 of them and double up blobs on the cookie sheet...and cross my fingers for baker’s luck.
There was spreading in the oven. And I don’t know how they do in photos, but mine did not come out perfectly round. Well, I think ONE did. I let them firm up a little bit after taking them out of the oven since I baked on a silpat. Transferred them to a wire rack to cool and went about my business to temper some chocolate.
Now, if you read the full recipe - it does say to temper the chocolate using a candy thermometer… I don’t own a candy thermometer… since I haven’t needed one, yet. I thought that this might be great excuse to get one, but alas, I forgot to order it with the delicious golden syrup.
Instead, I just did my thing. Melted chocolate (dark) using the Bain Marie method. Using a fork to drizzle the chocolate onto the biscuits, which I thought worked surprisingly well. Then, I discovered I committed BAKE FAIL #2.5 (I really don’t think it deserves WHOLE number step up) I was supposed to chocolate the bottoms of the biscuits first, let THAT set, and THEN drizzle the tops with chocolate. Well. I didn’t.
I did discover a nice way to chocolate my biscuit bottoms though— by using a spatula and loading some melted chocolate on there and then “dipping” the biscuit bottoms to get an even coating. Since I already had drizzled chocolate on the tops of the biscuits… I had some indentations of the wire rack on the bottoms. Whoops.
All in all, I felt that these florentines were tasty. I feel like I still had a decent shine to my melted chocolate, even though I didn’t have a candy thermometer to temper it to the correct temperature. But I did melt half the chocolate, removed the bowl from heat, and then added the rest of the chocolate in order to avoid any burning.
I was pleasantly surprised how much citrus flavor came through in the biscuit...and I am excited to think of other recipes to use the candied peel in. I’m planning to revisit the Lemon Drizzle Cake and make a recipe for a vegan one, so I think the citrus peel will have a place in my oven soon.
These biscuits (cookies, if you prefer) would definitely NOT be a go-to for me. Even though I think they are tasty, I can think of many other different cookies and biscuits that I would gorge myself on. But they are simple enough to come together to whip them up quickly, with whatever candied/dried fruit and nuts you have on hand in your pantry, to take to a brunch or have with your own tea at home. I think next time I might take my husband’s suggestion and use white chocolate for the drizzle. Seems like a great flavor combo AND would look very nicely on the biscuit themselves. Thanks for the suggestion, honey.
Next up… #showstopper. Yep, that is a 3D biscuit sculpture. Still trying to wrap my mind around how I’m going to do it AND bake up some yummy things for Chinese New Year. I’m thinking Chinese sausage pastries are in my future and yoga piggies. I’ll get pics and all that good stuff up on here and on my IG @dana.does.things
Until then, Happy Baking. Happy Eating. Happy Repeating.
P.S Thanks to Lindy (#lindybakes) for taking on the endeavor of editing :)
Candied Citrus Peel: