The revered judges of the annual Washington bureau holiday bake-off have spoken…. and they’ve crowned these almond florentines as king in 2009! Sources tell me it was the “ooooh” factor that tipped the scale vis a vis some of the formidable competition. And that reaction is not all that surprising, since these are indeed surprisingly tasty (read: addictive) cookie-candies.
The florentine is not quite a “brittle” or a “bark”: it’s a thin, carmel-sugary crisp with a hint of chewiness and a light layer of bittersweet chocolate on the outside. It’s virtually all sliced almonds held together by a honey-butter-sugar mixture that gets golden brown when baked for 10 minutes.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup whipping cream
4 cups sliced almonds
1 cup semisweet chocolate
6 foil pans
(1) Preheat the oven to 375. Grease the aluminum pans.
(2) Over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar, honey and cream. Cook until boiling — stirring constantly for 1 1/2 mins at boiling.
(3) Remove from heat and add almonds. Then, divide the mixture between the 6 pans. The layer should be very, very thin.
(4) Bake at 10-14 minutes until bubbling around the edges and a rich golden brown. Watch closely so as not to burn!
(5) Cool the florentines completely in the pans, even refrigerating or freezing if needed. After 5-10 minutes, pop them out onto wax paper.
(6) Melt the chocolate over low heat and then spread a thin layer atop the florentine discs. Allow chocolate to cool and harden completely.
(7) Slice using a sharp, long knife and serve!