I know it’s a little early, but I just love Christmas…

Christmas is a time for giving so I am giving to you one of my favorite seasonal recipes – Florentines! I quote from the recipe’s author, Delia Smith, a fabulous English baker, chef and cookbook author:

“If there was such a thing as a prize for the very best biscuit in the world, one bite of a Florentine would tell you this was the winner. Absolutely top drawer and perfect if you want to give a special homemade present at Christmas.”

Of course, the word “biscuit” in English means the same as “cookie” in American. Other than that, I could not have phrased it better myself.

I used to make these when I was much, much younger to give away as Christmas gifts, each packaged in a lovely tin. Friends still talk about them now, years later, and many still have the tins! I do, in fact, plan to make them again this year. It’s been too long since I had the time and now, with Cool Beans closed, I finally can do it. A lot of love and patience is required, but they are oh so worth it!




  Makes about 20


 25g butter
 75g golden caster sugar
 10g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
 65ml double cream
 50g whole almonds, cut into thin slivers
 50g ready-flaked almonds
 50g whole candied peel, chopped
 25g glacé cherries, chopped
 25g angelica, finely chopped
 175g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
 Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC, gas mark 5, 375 F


Equipment: Two Delia Online baking sheets, with non-stick liners, or similar

This recipe is from Delia’s Cakes


Start by putting the butter together with the sugar and flour in a small, heavy-based saucepan over a very low heat, and keep stirring until the mixture has melted.


Now gradually add the cream, stirring continuously to keep it smooth. Then add all the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate. Stir thoroughly again, then remove the saucepan from the heat and put the mixture on one side to cool.


You’ll find it easier to bake one sheet of the Florentines at a time, so now place heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2.5cm apart (to allow the mixture room to expand while baking).


Flatten each spoonful with the back of the spoon, then bake on a high shelf for about 10–12 minutes, or until golden. Then take them out of the oven and leave the biscuits to harden on the baking sheet for 2–3 minutes, before quickly removing them to a wire cooling tray to cool.


Repeat with the second batch.


Next, melt the chocolate in a basin over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. This will take about 5–10 minutes.


Place the cooled Florentines base-up on the wire rack and, using a teaspoon, coat the underside of each Florentine with warm melted chocolate.


Then, just before it sets, make a patterned, wavy line on each one, using a fork.


Now leave the Florentines to cool completely before packing in alternating rows of fruit and chocolate side up in airtight tins.


You may substitute the following if necessary:

Soft brown sugar for golden caster sugar,

Soaked raisins (in rum, if you like!) for glacé cherries,

Chopped dried fruit (eg. Cranberries) for Angelica (there really is no substitute, but I do not know how easy it is to obtain here),

Whipping cream for double cream, though it would be best to partially whip it before using in the recipe as Double Cream is much thicker.


Measure everything very carefully. Most scales will have grams on them, but if your’s do not then use the following calculation:

1 gram is equal to 0.035 ounce, so multiply each of the ingredients weights by 0.035.


I do hope you enjoy these fabulous cookies (biscuits to me!) as much as I do and I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!



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