The pretty ones with a chocolate coating.
Few years back I bought a tin of florentines which intrigued me enough to try to create my own version. I tried many hapless recipes before settling for this one. These are probably the most popular biscuits in our household. There is a recipe bouncing around the internet for florentines made with eggs, but I'm having none of that, I desire the more classical version. If you leave out the macadamias and add some candied orange zest, then it will be truly classical.
Single origin organic vanilla pods. From left to right: Papua New Guinea, Congo, Madagascar, Tahiti.
I even whipped out the vanilla extract I made exactly two years ago. It's as easy as one-two-three, stick a glorious amount of halved vanilla pods in alcohol, keep it well sealed and give it a shake once in a while. I waited eight months before trying mine, but six months should be just as fine. If it's not airtight though, the alcohol will evaporate after a while and the extract might go off.
Making vanilla sugar is even easier. It takes just sugar and vanilla pods. Using a spice grinder, grind dried out vanilla pods into powder to mix with sugar. Or buy ready made powdered vanilla and mix this into caster sugar. Done!
200g flaked almonds
150ml double cream
1 tbsp runny honey
Toast and skin the nuts if you didn't buy them already skinned. Chop hazelnuts and macadamias into reasonably sized pieces. I kept smaller ones whole, halved about one third and quartered the rest.
Take a saucepan, heat butter and sugar until melted, add the cream, honey, vanilla and orange oil. Let simmer for a few minutes until it looks syrupy. Add all the nuts and stir well for even coating. Cook for a couple more minutes. It should be rather sticky.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread or press the mixture into even flat rounds, about 6-7mm thick. When made too thin, the biscuit will be hard and too brittle. One heaped old soupspoon was enough for the larger ones, about 8cm diameter. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the size. Florentines will harden as they cool.
After florentines have cooled down, it is possible to coat the underside with chocolate. Temper about 200g chocolate and drop a spoonful on the underside of each biscuit, spreading with a spatula or butter knife. If you have all the skills and equipment of a chocolatier, then you probably have a simpler solution to this.