Does anyone else feel like getting back into the swing of things after Thanksgiving is just rough? I've definitely been dragging my feet when it comes to accomplishing anything resembling work/real life. I just want to cruise straight into the winter holidays, bake cookies, drink peppermint mochas and ignore the fact that life isn't a perpetual weekend. It'd be nice, right?
For four days I pretty much ignored any and all deadlines and boring non-holiday stuff, and it was a lot of fun to just get back in the kitchen and bake all day. I made my super-soft dinner rolls for Thanksgiving, plus a chocolate tart that IMO rivals this one any day. I'll (hopefully) share that sometime once I get a chance to make it again and iron out the kinks. And you better bet I made some cornbread and honey butter and ate it all weekend long - recipe for that coming very soon. It was a pretty fun and food-filled weekend and I'm just having a little bit of a hard time getting my butt in gear again.
The only thing getting me through the next few weeks until the upcoming holidays is the promise of a break ahead and all the holiday-themed recipes I get to share with you guys, first of which is these cookies which I am SO excited about. Florentines (aka Lace Cookies) have always been one of the few store-bought cookies that I actually liked, and I initially had no idea how they were made or how in the world they got their thin, lacy pattern and delicate snap. I remember having one in Paris at À la Mère de Famille that was seriously incredible, but it didn't really occur to me until earlier this year that I could make these gorgeous cookies at home. But I can! And I did! And you can too! It's actually simpler than I thought it would be, too.
Basically, lace cookies are made by cooking a sugar syrup and adding a mixture containing very finely chopped nuts to create a dough that spreads into a thin, crispy cookie as it bakes, with each little bit of nut held together by the sweet toffee-like laces of the cooked sugar. Once they've cooled after baking, you drizzle them with dark chocolate, and maybe even sandwich two together with chocolate in the middle, and the result is total cookie perfection. I also like to add some almond extract to the dough because it melds so well with the caramelly, almond cookie base and the bittersweet chocolate. These are on a completely different spectrum from typical thick and chewy cookies, but it's the one instance where a thin, crisp cookie is exactly what I'm looking for. The complex combination of flavor and texture in these cookies is just beyond what words can explain.
These florentines are without a doubt a cookie you should add to your Christmas baking list, if not because they're so good then because they're totally impressive! (But fair warning, once you try them you might not want to give them away!)
Dark Chocolate Almond Florentine Cookies
Thin, lacy, toffee-like almond cookies sandwiched and drizzled with bittersweet chocolate make a fancy, impressive, and sublime holiday treat!
- Cook Time: 11 minutes
- Total Time: 11 minutes
- Yield: about 54 large cookies or 27 cookie sandwiches 1x
- 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 10 ½ ounces (1 ½ cups) granulated sugar
- 2 ⅛ ounces (¼ cup) heavy cream
- 3 ⅛ ounces (¼ cup) light corn syrup
- 12 ¼ ounces (3 ½ cups) slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 ⅝ ounces (6 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 12-15 ounces bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate, melted (preferably tempered)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine butter, sugar, cream, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Allow butter to melt and sugar to dissolve, stirring occasionally, and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat.
- Process almonds in a food processor to the consistency of fine gravel (kinda like Nerds candies, but not as fine as almond meal). Whisk together with cocoa, flour, and salt in a bowl until evenly combined.
- Add vanilla and almond extracts to the sugar mixture, stirring in to combine, and then mix in the dry ingredients until everything is evenly combined. Cool until thick enough to scoop and work with (this may only take a few minutes).
- Scoop dough by tablespoons and shape into small balls. Lay out on a separate piece of parchment paper.
- Place 6 cookies at a time on the parchment-lined baking sheet to bake, well spread apart with a few inches between each cookie and the sides of the baking sheet. Bake on middle rack of oven for 11-12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time, until cookies are golden. Cool for a few minutes and then use a 2 ¾" - 3" round cookie cutter to stamp circles in cookies. You can either tear off excess cookie around cutter while cookies are soft or somewhat firm, or wait until the cookies have crisped up and snap off the excess around the stamped indentation. One method or the other might work better depending on how well the cookies are stamped with the cutter. Continue baking cookies 6 at a time, alternating baking sheets to cool between batches, until all cookies are baked and cut.
- Once all cookies have baked and cooled, spread melted chocolate over half and top each with a second cookie. Drizzle any excess chocolate over the cookie sandwiches.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I found that the chocolate cookies had a better crunch once stored in the refrigerator overnight.
*For smaller cookies, scoop dough by ½ tablespoons and bake 9 to a sheet for 10-11 minutes. Use a 2 ½" round cookie cutter to stamp after baking.
Recipe Adapted From: Food Network
Who else is super excited about holiday baking? I want to know what's on your t0-bake list!