The scandal that rocked the baking world. Florentines! Where is Robert Langdon when you need him? While innocently searching for this recipe the other day I came across this article. And I was shocked (or at least mildly intrigued). For those of you not looking for a full rundown on the history of Florentines let me sum up. Everyone in the world, probably even Mary Berry, attributes these cookies to Florence, Italy. BUT in reality, or at least according to one food writer, they are a French creation! Mind-blowing, right?! Apparently, some 17th-century French royal made them for their Tuscan in-laws. So now you are one of the select few that know the truth about Florentines. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t matter who came up the recipe I still have to give it a go.
One of the key ingredients in this recipe is my old friend Golden Syrup. In case you have forgotten or haven’t heard Golden Syrup has stumped me a few times before. I first attempted a DIY substitution with disastrous results. Next time I thought I was using the real thing but it turns out golden corn syrup doesn’t cut it. This time, this time, it happened!
My poor Mom went to a speciality shop to get this stuff. She probably spent an absurd amount of money on it but this syrup is authentic. It’s the real deal, crooked label and all. Sadly this means that I can’t blame any baking snafus on the wrong ingredients anymore.
Syrup in hand I busted out my next unusual ingredient. Demerara sugar. As far as I can tell it’s just coarse brown sugar. I may or may not use it as a body scrub if I have any extra.
I put all the delicious stuff on the stove to combine and started chopping up the less delicious components of this bake. I know the cherries were soaked in sugar but there are just too many nuts and fruit to make this feel indulgent and dessert like to me.
It didn’t take long at all for the syrup mixture to combine. After I added the flour I noticed that the mix looked an awful lot like the Brandy Snap batter.
This did not bring back good memories. I quickly mixed in my chopped fruit so I wouldn’t have to be reminded of the flops any longer.
Mary gives specific instruction to put 6 teaspoons of batter on each baking tray and leave plenty of room for the Florentines to spread. I have to ask how does Mary know how many Florentines will fit on my baking trays. I have some pretty big trays. I threw caution to the wind and plopped a bunch of blobs on a couple of trays and hoped for the best.
While I was lucky that my blobs did not collide and make one giant Florentine, I did have some issues with consistency. As in they are not consistent.
Nothing a little artful stacking can’t hide.
I coated my Florentines in chocolate without much excitement and made the fork squiggles as instructed. Once cooled I had a taste. And did not go back for seconds. Sorry France, or Italy, I’ll pass on the Florentine. The taste was what I imagine hard fruitcake tastes like. Not overly sweet and kind of confusing. There was a lot going on. Between the candied orange peel, nuts, golden syrup and chocolate, I didn’t know what was happening. That being said my husband has been happily snacking away on them so it wasn’t a total loss.