This week was my turn to host Project Pastry Queen, and I chose Ruby-Flecked Florentines. These lacy cookies are lightly crisp, with just the right balance of nuts, dried fruit and crunchy sweetness. The are quick and easy to make, and you don’t even need a mixer. They were so good, I’ll be making them again this weekend.
I actually prefer them without the white chocolate topping, which made them a bit too sweet for my taste. I left about half of them unadorned.
From The Pastry Queen, by Rebecca Rather
2 cups sliced almonds, divided (OR 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds plus 1/2 cup almond meal. I prefer Bob’s Red Mill brand.)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup golden raisins
zest of 1/2 orange, preferably organic
½ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or light corn syrup
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Optional: ½ cup white chocolate chips or 3 oz. good quality white chocolate, broken into pieces
Process 1/2 cup of the almonds in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade until they are finely ground. (If using almond meal, omit this step.)
Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add, one at a time, the sugar, cranberries, raisins, orange peel, syrup, and flour, stirring after each addition. Stir in the ground and sliced almonds.
Using 1 tablespoon dough per cookie, roll mixture into balls. Dough will be sticky so moisten hands if needed. Cookies will spread so place 3 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes or until cookies have spread and are evenly golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes, then gently transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Allow to cool completely before serving, storing, or decorating with white chocolate.
To decorate the cookies, melt the white chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate has melted completely. Dip a dinner fork into the warm chocolate an hold it about 1 t o2 inches above each cookie. Move the fork around or fling it back and forth, letting the white chocolate dribble and drip onto the cookie. Feel free to have fun with this and channel your inner Jackson Pollock. Let the chocolate harden for 30 minutes before stacking the cookies on a plate or storing.