These irresistible Cherry Almond Florentine Cookies are crunchy confection treats marrying nuts and cherries with caramel and chocolate. With or without a chocolate layer, the recipe is easy, versatile and so are the ingredients.
Italian treats (or should I say European) are delicious and never disappoint. This one is no exception. Typically prepared during the Christmas season, it is also a yummy cookie for any occasion. Also, try our amazing Orange Madeleine Cookies or Chocolate Dipped Grand Marnier Cherries for another great treat.
Hi there, Melanie from Bon Appét’Eat again. It’s been a lot of fun to be part of the Noshing with the Nolands tribe. You should pop by my blog if you have a chance! If you would like another little indulgence during the holidays, you should try the French mendiants, chocolate bark with candied fruits. Or if you are simply an almond fan, I got you covered. I have a good selection of almond-based recipes.
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Where do Florentine Cookies Come From?
There are a few opinions and it was never clearly confirmed.
First, some think, as their name suggests, Florentine cookies come from Florence, Italy. However, the French also claimed the origin of these biscuits as it would go back to the time Louix XII was in power.
While this is all debatable, we will settle on the deliciousness, and agree Florentines are at the least European!
These fancy treats are typically eaten during the Christmas season. You will often find them on a dessert or snack tray.
The steps to make this recipe are simple and you will have the BEST treats!
As I always recommend in my previous posts, prepare all the ingredients you will need. Doing a mise en place helps you staying organized and enjoying the process.
- Granulated sugar
- Heavy cream
- Sliced almonds
- Dried cherries
- Chocolate chips
Optional: a teaspoon of vanilla extract or almond extract to emphasize the flavour.
Note: Sliced almonds and dried cherries are the base here, but you could add any nuts if you wish or even swap the cherries for cranberries, for example.
How to Make Florentine Cookies?
Now, let’s start baking and preheat the oven at 425F:
- In a small saucepan, mix the cream and honey. Add in the sugar. Bring to a simmer for 8 minutes or so or 116C/240F if you have a thermometer. Don’t worry if you don’t own one; you can still make this recipe. Keep an eye on your preparation: heat and stir regularly. The appearance of the creamy caramel should be slightly golden brown by 8 minutes. Stir in the vanilla if you chose to add some.
- Remove from the heat and add in the almonds (finely chopped if you wish) mixture and stir. Don’t forget the cherries.
- Prepare a baking sheet or some silicone molds, scoop about a tablespoon of the almond mixture in the molds and flatten to look even.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. It will be bubbly when it comes out of the oven.
Allow cooling completely. It is very important that your florentine cookies are room temperature for the next step. Let them cool down in the molds and once harder, place them on a wire rack to cool on their flat side.
In a microwave-safe bowl, add the dark chocolate chips. Melt 30 seconds at a time and stir.
Spread the melted chocolate on the flat side of the florentine cookie and place it on a rack with a parchment paper or silicone mat to allow the chocolate to harden. You can dip it in the bowl too, but I find it messier as I dip my fingers too! Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Possible Variations of Florentine Cookies
Whether you are missing an ingredient or want to try another flavour, here are some more inspirations.
ALMONDS: You can add in some pistachios, hazelnuts or pine nuts. My recommendation here would be to have all nuts roughly at the same size.
CHERRIES: Any other dried fruit would work. Cranberries would make a great combo with the almonds. Candied fruits are also a great option. Lastly, lemon or orange zests can also be tasteful addition.
CHOCOLATE: While I tend to choose dark chocolate, you can use milk or white chocolate. You can mix and match: spread the bottom with white chocolate and drizzle with dark. If you must, you can also omit it entirely.
Are Florentine Cookies and Lace Cookies The Same?
Yes and no. While Florentine and lace cookies both have almonds and toffee-like taste, it all resides on the appearance.
Lace cookies have a thin and see-through appearance. Your almonds will be chopped very thinly and you can add some oatmeal. In terms of dairy, some use butter or milk instead of cream.
Florentine cookies can also be thinner. If you wish to obtain this look, chop your almonds and use an oven sheet rather than the molds. The cookies will spread while baking and therefore not stay as thick.
How to Store Florentine Cookies, Can I Freeze Them?
Your delicate treats will only require an airtight container to be stored. If you also did the chocolate layer, make sure it is not a warm room.
I would not recommend freezing them. Florentine cookies are too delicate and will get soggy. If you wish to bake them ahead of time. You can easily store them for a week to 10 days.
GIFT THEM: Since they are easily stored, these make a great edible hostess gift, treats for your colleagues, etc.
COOKIE EXCHANGE: Consider baking a double batch of these for your next cookie exchange. It will be a show stopper for sure. Florentine cookies are really cute!
BAKING ACTIVITY: Depending on the age of your children, the supervision may vary. This is a great recipe for kids to prepare with few ingredients.
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- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 3 tbsp of honey
- 1/3 of a cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup of sliced almonds, finely chopped if you wish
- A handful of dried cherries
- 1 cup of dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven at 425F.
- In a small saucepan, off the stove, mix the cream and honey.
- Add in the sugar. Stir well. Now, put your saucepan on the stove, on medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer for 8 minutes or so or 116C/240F if you have a thermometer.
- Stir regularly. The appearance of the creamy caramel should be slightly golden brown by 8 minutes. Stir in the vanilla if you chose to add some.
- Remove from the heat and add in the almonds to the mixture and stir. Add also the cherries.
- On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or some silicone molds, scoop about a tablespoon of the preparation in the molds and flatten to look even. Don't flatten if you chose a baking sheet, they'll spread while baking.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Allow cooling completely.
- In the meantime, in a microwave-safe bowl, add the dark chocolate chips. Melt 30 seconds at a time and stir. Spread the chocolate on the flat side of the florentine cookie and place it on a rack with a parchment paper or silicone mat to allow the chocolate to harden.
Remember to read the post for tips, tricks and variations of the recipe!
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 278Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 3gSugar: 33gProtein: 3g
Recipe calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. If you need nutritional calculations for medical reasons, please use a source that you trust.