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Florentine Cookies

58

A combination of nuts and dried fruits with a rich chocolate coating makes these cookies, from Gramercy Tavern pastry chef Claudia Fleming, a delectable holiday treat.

  • Yield: Makes about three dozen

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1999/2000

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup dried sour cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 cup candied orange peel, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • Vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
  • 1 pound best-quality bittersweet chocolate, such as Callebaut or Valrhona, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine honey, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the temperature reaches 238 degrees (the soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine nuts, dried fruit, flour, and spices.

  2. Pour honey-sugar mixture over contents in large bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine. When cool enough to handle, form into 1-inch balls with hands coated with vegetable shortening to prevent sticking. Place on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat mat or parchment paper, and flatten into balls with the palm of your hand. Bake until bubbled on top, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

  3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate: In the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stir chocolate with a spatula until smooth. Working quickly, using a small offset spatula, spread a thick layer of chocolate on the back of each cooled cookie. Place cookies, chocolate side up, on a wire rack until chocolate is hardened. Store between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container.

Cook's Notes

To toast hazelnuts, roast them in a 350-degree oven just until you smell a toasted aroma. Then, rub the skins off with a tea towel.

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