Florentines have long been one of my favorite cookies, ever since living in New Haven, and exploring the great Italian bakeries out there. So when I was working on my Christmas Cookie list, I knew I had to add them.
Let me just say right now that these are not the cookies to make if you are exceptionally concerned that your cookies all come out looking like they were professionally done. It’s remarkably easy to have them come out different sizes and different colors of brown. And they will drive you a bit bonkers if you don’t have some good baking stuff – at least three cookies sheets (to keep the rotation going smoothly), ample counter space, and a 1/4 or 1/8 oz scoop will make all the difference here. I only have a scoop in a 3/8 oz size, and that was a bit too big. I think you could use either of the other sizes and get great results. Alternately, you’re stuck trying to make it work with a teaspoon, and that’s no fun.
This recipe is from Peggy Russell, who is something of a legend in Ojai where I work. Her homemade cakes and cookies are always outstanding, and she’s won a record number of prizes at the Ventura County fair. I looked through a number of recipes when trying to figure out how to make Florentines, and hers was the simplest and the most obviously like the flavors that I remember. And I have to say, the results are amazing. It was really simple to put together, and the flavor is perfect. I ended up putting chocolate on about half the cookies, but honestly, I prefer them without. The caramel-y almond-y combo is the cookie that I am reaching for most often these days.
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 C light corn syrup
- 2/3 C brown sugar (Packed)
- 1 C flour
- 1 C almond meal
Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, mix the flour and almond meal, and set aside. In a large saucepan melt butter and stir in brown sugar and corn syrup. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture up to boiling, and then take it off the heat. Quickly add the flour and almond meal, and stir to combine.
Drop by teaspoon (or so) onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 3″ between each ball. If the batter starts to cool and get hard to work with, re-heat it gently for a couple of minutes. Bake for 5 mins. Keep a really close eye on your first batch. The cookies go from nowhere close to being done to dark brown around the edges really fast. After baking, let rest 5 mins before moving to a cookie rack to cool.
Drizzle with chocolate, of desired.