On impulse, I bought glacé cherries on a recent visit to Aldi, and haven’t known what to do with them.

And then I thought Florentines!

These lacy, light biscuits traditionally comprise nuts and cherries. Some recipes I’ve seen have replaced glacé cherries with sour dried cherries or cranberries but I wanted to go super kitsch.

I turned to Mary Berry for my recipe, but made a few changes based on personal taste and also what I had in my pantry.

Demerara sugar was replaced with caster and slivered almonds and chopped walnuts were my choice of nuts.

I also swapped out the golden syrup for 50% honey and 50% treacle for extra colour.

I wasn’t quite sure just how lacy the final product was supposed to be and am still not sure after much research – any ideas anyone?

Mine had a fair few holes, but luckily these were covered up by the dark chocolate

Oh my god, they were so delicious! I’m sure they’re not perfect, but they were crisp, rich with gems of cherry every now and then – like pimped up brandy snaps.

I actually think I prefer them without the chocolate – not sure if that is sacrilege???

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the traditional zigzag pattern on the back. I went to the trouble of tempering my chocolate which was supposed to mean it held the pattern but alas no.

I think it might be something to do with the temperature at the moment because the chocolate took about an hour to set.

I tried, but no cigar!

Florentines (adapted from Mary Berry recipe from BBC food)

50g butter
50g demerara sugar
25g treacle
25g honey
50g plain flour
25g glacé cherries, finely chopped
25g almonds, finely chopped
25g walnut pieces, finely chopped
200g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line three baking trays with baking parchment or silicon sheets.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Carefully remove the bowl from the pan, add the rest of the chocolate and stir gently until the chocolate has cooled to 26C/79F.
  7. 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.

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