Florentines

Serves

Somewhere between a cookie and a candy, Italian florentines combine some of the season's most delectable treats: chocolate, fruits and nuts. This rich recipe uses mini-muffin tins to make thin, bite-sized cookies. Although we've specified particular fruits and nuts in this recipe, feel free to create your own versions. These chewy delicacies make a terrific gift, if you can bear to part with them!


Ingredients

1 cup blanched nuts (such as pistachios and/or hazelnuts, 4-1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more for greasing pans)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/3 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup finely chopped Earthbound Farm Organic Dried Cranberries
1/3 cup candied (glacéed) cherries (quartered)
1/3 cup white chocolate (chopped)
1/3 cup dark chocolate (chopped)
1/3 cup milk chocolate (chopped)


Directions

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 360 degrees F. Liberally butter the bottom and sides of several mini-quiche or muffin pans (you will need to bake the florentines in batches, depending on how many pans you have). Set aside.

Place half of the nuts in a food processor and pulse to roughly chop. Transfer to a bowl. Place the remaining nuts in the food processor and run the machine until the nuts are very finely chopped, almost like a coarse flour. Add these nuts to the bowl and set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over low heat, stirring until the sugar is almost dissolved. Add the flour and continue to stir constantly until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Do not allow the batter to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the heavy cream. Stir in the nuts and fruits.

Drop half-teaspoonfuls of the cookie batter into the prepared muffin tins. Avoid the temptation to add more; you want the florentines to be thin. Bake until the cookies have spread and are bubbling, and the edges are lightly browned, 6 to 10 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and set on a wire rack. The cookies will be soft when you first take them out of the oven, but they'll harden as they cool. After 5 to 10 minutes, use a small spoon or offset spatula to loosen the florentines from the pan and flip them out. Finish cooling the cookies on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Melt each of the chocolates separately in the microwave. Drizzle chocolate over the top of the cookies, alternating flavors so that you have some adorned with each color. Set the florentines on the baking tray in a single layer, so that the cookies don't touch, and let the chocolate set completely.

To store, layer the florentines between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container.

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