Thursday, 24 March 2011

Nigella's Florentines and Spiced Hot Chocolate

The theme for this month's Forever Nigella hosted by Maison Cupcake was Italian. All I could think of was a chocolate torte, but having made one for the last challenge, I wanted to do something a bit different, but what? A quick flick through How to be a Domestic Goddess and I alighted on Florentines. Excellent, what could be more Italian than Florentines? On investigation, of course, it seems that there is some debate as to whether these actually originated from Florence, as the name suggests, or from Austria. Still, I figured the name alone qualified these for the challenge and they would also do very nicely as something suitable to take to my mother's for tea. Or would they? On 2nd thoughts I wasn't quite so sure; I had vague memories of attempting these once before in the dim and distant past and that they perhaps had not been very successful! Oh well, nothing ventured and all that. Rather nervously I proceeded as follows:
  • Chopped 50g Brazil nuts into rough chunks.
  • Added 50g flaked almonds, 30g crystallised pineapple, 20g mixed peel and 80g of mixed sour cherries, raisins and goji berries.
  • Melted 25g unsalted butter in a pan.
  • Added 90g vanilla sugar (mine is granulated).
  • Stirred in 15g plain flour.
  • Added 150ml double cream and beat until smooth.
  • Placed heaped teaspoonfuls on well spaced apart on baking trays lined with baking paper.
  • Baked at 180C for 10 minutes, then left to cool.
  • Melted 150g 72% cook's chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
  • Spread melted chocolate over the backs of the Florentines and left to set.
I needn't have worried. These weren't nearly as difficult as I'd thought, just slightly messy.  I was pleased with the results, even if they didn't look as pretty as Nigella's. For those that have the book, you will see I deviated fairly substantially from the original recipe. Those that know me have probably grasped the fact that I'm incapable of following a recipe to the letter. In mitigation, however, I didn't have the requisite fruit to hand. I also thought vanilla sugar would work well in this recipe. How right I was. Nutty, chewy and delicious is what they were. The plain chocolate was a good foil for the sweetness of the biscuits. Nigella had rather over estimated the amount of chocolate needed. She stated 100g of dark and 100g of white. I found that 150g was too much and that 100g would have been sufficient. That was fine though, I added some milk and a pinch of cayenne and made myself a delicious hot chocolate.

22 comments:

  1. I adore those chewy Florentines! Yours look exceptionally good. You shouldn't have worried! And they make great gifts!

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  2. ooh lovely and that spicy hot chocolate sounds like an added bonus.

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  3. I think these look great and Dom is right, Florentines in bags make charming gifts. Thanks so much for joining in with Forever Nigella 3.

    BTW I've known all along what I want to make for We Should Cocoa and chocolate lime is one of my all time favourite flavours but everyone in my family has been ill one after another in past 3 weeks and I'm really behind with baking... so I don't know if I'm going to meet the deadline but it's not for want of trying!!

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  4. Florentines are always beautiful, definitely worth the effort - you were right to reward your self with hot chocolate in the end!

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  5. I love florentines - never think of them as Italian but I guess I should given the name - made them last year and must get back to this recipe soon

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  6. Not sure cayenne in hot choc is for me.

    But liking the florentines very much. Could definately manage one with my coffee right now.

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  7. They look great - v impressive!

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  8. I like your style ... as always ;0)
    Leftover chocolate shall never be a problem lol

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  9. These look great and the hot chocolate looks so tempting!

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  10. These look very delicious and addictive with all the fruits and nuts. You made it sound very easy to make....just melt and mix. Thanks very much for sharing.

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  11. I've never made florentines, although I always think how jewel like they look. Yours look very tempting.

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  12. I love Florentines and these look especially good, I often make them at Christmas with cranberries, ginger pieces and green cherries then dust them with gold powder...and I really fancy that spicy hot choc. BTW I couldn't find a saint for chocolate - only St Drogo for coffee - I'll keep looking..
    x

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  13. I keep meaning to make some, yours look fabulous and very easy. A great Nigella entry.

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  14. Those look outrageously lovely! You'll be opening your own patisserie soon I have no doubt x Joanna

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  15. I say recipes are only as a general guide. An idea to jump start from. Pahh, to following them completely :-)
    I haven't made florentines before, but would happily settle for one of these right now.

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  16. Gorgeous! I love florentines. You can get them in pretty much any cafe in Australia and they were always one of my go-to sweet treats. I've never made them though. And the hot chocolate looks wonderful! What a great use for leftover melted chocolate.

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  17. Choc, I can't believe it, you deviated from a recipe? ;-)

    Your deviation looks like an improvement to me - those look very moreish - and the hot chocolate looks like a perfect accompaniment. :)

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  18. Dom - thank you. They do have a very special chewy texture. I think these might be on this year's gifts for Christmas list.

    Kath - the hot chocolate was lovely. Nothing quite beats hot chocolate made with real chocolate.

    Sarah - sounds like you've got plenty on your plate. There's always next month :)

    Pudding Pie - thanks for the comment and any excuse for a treat is my moto ;-)

    Johanna - not sure why it took me so long to get around to making them, they are not that difficult after all.

    VBB - but surely you are a chilli fan?

    MCB - thank you.

    Chele - you're right, there isn't really such a thing as leftover chocolate ;-)

    Baking Addict - thanks

    MaryMoh - they weren't nearly as difficult as I'd led myself to believe.

    Maggie - thank you. Jewel like is a good way of describing them - or at least the professional ones!

    Liz thank you - can't believe there wouldn't be a saint for chocolate! Your ginger Florentines sound amazing with gold powder too.

    Nic - thank you. Do give them a try.

    Joanna - ha ha, along with your bakery!

    CityHippy - I'm with you all the way. You're in for a treat if you ever do get around to making them.

    Foodycat - had no idea these were so common in Australia. I hardly ever see them over here.

    Celia - I know, it's shocking ;-)

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  19. Love these, I love Nigella recipes, look fantastic, gloria

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  20. I adore florentines, though never dared to make them as I fear I would eat them all in one sitting!!

    They look so delicious and fruity, and therefore must be semi healthy? ;-)

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  21. Anne - thank you, a good point, if it's got fruit in, it must be all right ;-)

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