Well, just in the nick of time, I present to you Week Two of The Great British Bake Off featuring (drum roll please) Mary’s Florentines!
I had seriously never heard of Florentines until the Bakers were challenged with them in last weeks technical challenge, so naturally I had to give them a go. I had a lot of fun making these, and they were quite easy except for the chocolate bit. Who knew that making a zig-zag pattern with a fork on the back of a biscuit would be so difficult?
To start you will need 3 baking sheets, a pot, baking parchment, and a sugar thermometer (that I did not have but would have been VERY helpful!)
So here’s Mary’s Florentines Recipe, you can find the original here and I’ve added some pics and notes to the recipe below.
- 50g butter
- 50g demerara sugar
- 50g golden syrup
- 50g plain flour
- 25g dried cranberries or glacé cherries, finely chopped ( I used cherries, but not the cranberries)
- 50g candied peel, finely chopped
- 50g walnut pieces, finely chopped (the original recipe calls for 25g walnuts and 25g almonds, but I used walnuts only)
- 200g plain chocolate (70% cocoa)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line three baking trays with baking parchment or silicon sheets.
- Measure the butter, sugar and syrup into a small pan and heat gently until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and add the flour, chopped cranberries or cherries, candied peel and nuts to the pan. Stir well to mix. Below is a picture of what the mixture will look like. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it goes a long way!
- Make 18 florentines by spooning six teaspoonfuls of the mixture on to each of the prepared baking trays, leaving plenty of room for them to spread during cooking. I used a measuring spoon to measure out the mixture, but I think that you could be a bit more generous than 1 teaspoon. I would used a good heaped teaspoon as mine did turn out a bit on the small side and I had plenty of mixture left over.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden-brown. Leave the florentines to cool before lifting onto a cooling rack using a palette knife (if the florentines have been baked on greased baking trays, then allow them to harden for a few moments only before lifting onto cooling racks to cool completely). If the florentines become too hard to remove, then pop them back into the oven for a few minutes to allow them to soften.
- Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, without letting the bowl touch the water. Temper the chocolate by breaking half of the chocolate into the bowl. Stir until the chocolate reaches a melting temperature of 53C/127F. Meanwhile, finely chop or grate the remaining chocolate. I didn’t have a thermometer so I just waited until the chocolate was melted and then stirred in the remaining chocolate once it had reached that point.
- Carefully remove the bowl from the pan, add the rest of the chocolate and stir gently until the chocolate has cooled to 26C/79F. Note: try not to eat too much of the chocolate while waiting for it to cool…but it looks so good!
- Spread a little melted chocolate over the flat base of each florentine and leave to cool slightly before marking a zigzag in the chocolate with a fork. Leave to set, chocolate side up on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.This is where I had the most difficulty. It wasn’t hard per say, it just took a lot of time for the chocolate to cool down enough that it actually held the zig-zag pattern. It was taking sooo long that I got a bit bored of waiting and went into the other room but when I came back in it had gone a bit too hard! I think that maybe I had brought the initial temperature of the chocolate a little too high as I didn’t have a thermometer so I was just guessing. I think that if you did use a thermometer the science would be more exact and you would probably have better results.
So there you go! They are quite tasty especially if you like dark chocolate. I guess I will be able to munch away on these while watching this week’s episode of the GBBO and dreading making bread sometime in the very near future!
Hope you enjoy.