I am well aware that my posts for the last week or so have been mainly dominated by cakes, baking and sweet treats, but if I’m honest, it’s because I haven’t really been interesting enough meals for it to be worth documenting, and also I’m so happy to be back in a kitchen where my baking involves minimal fuck-up-age because the oven is so good! My oven at university only goes up to 200 degrees Celsius, and it’s not very precise at all, so it feels like an utter luxury to be able to make perfectly risen cakes and perfectly crispy cookies again.
So anyway, I decided to make Florentine today because they’re my mum’s favourites (I surprised her by making them whilst she was at work, then putting them in her room – model daughter?) and because I feel like I’ve been a bit of a horrid person to be around recently; because coming to and from university in Lancaster is so draining and I haven’t been eating very well this week I’ve been feeling apathetic and weepy, so I thought I’d treat her to her favourite sweet treat and me tidying up a bit to thank her for putting up with me and being so supportive and understanding. To be honest, I knew that dealing with anorexia whilst at university was really hard on me, but I never thought of how it would affect my mum, my friends and my boyfriend as well, so I’m really going to try to make it up to everyone as much as I can – I’m taking my best friend to a very secret surprise ‘event’ in a few weeks, which will be really exciting :) I would divulge what it is, but it’s too awesome to risk her knowing, so I’ll post about it after July 26th…
These little biscuits were so lovely for me to make, because it’s quite an involving process, you can’t just whack them in the oven and leave them, and it was really therapeutic to brush the chocolate on; you could try and do patterns on the bottoms of them, but I didn’t want to risk them going wrong, so I kept it plain and simple. They were also really easy to ‘veganize’ and make gluten-free, so they’re a really good allergy-bake as well. All you do is substitute the butter for vegan spread and the flour for rice flour, and it doesn’t spoil the careful chemistry of them at all :)
I reckon these would be a perfect little Christmas present as well (yeah, thinking a little far ahead) because of the rich sweetness of the dried fruit, and the nutty, chewy but sort of brittle texture – this recipe’s definitely a keeper. I adapted it from my new Jo Wheatley book, which I’ve adorned with post-it-notes to work my way through over summer. I really hope you like them as much as my Mamma did!
50g of vegan spread (I use Pure dairy free spread)
50g of golden syrup
50g of soft brown sugar
50g of rice flour
50g of flaked almonds
20g of chopped pecans, roughly chopped
50g of dried cranberries
50g of dried apricots, chopped
20g of dessicated coconut
150g of dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease two baking trays.
- In a large saucepan, stir the sugar, golden syrup and margarine until melted, then add the flour, coconut, nuts and fruit (off the heat) and stir until well combined.
- Spoon teaspoons of the mixture onto baking trays, leaving room for them to spread out during cooking, then bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
- Take out and leave for 30 seconds to harden, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Melt the chocolate and spread on the bottoms of the Florentines, then leave to set until completely cool before eating.
Makes about 12