Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Random Recipes: Chocolate Florentines

A couple of weeks I had an email, from none other than Dom off of Belleau Kitchen. It was about his super popular blogging challenge, Random Recipes.

For this month, Dom has paired off all the challenge participants in a kind of internet dating baking fashion, each of us getting to choose our partners Random Recipe.

And in no time at all I became his version of a cross between an Evil Random Recipe Overlord and Alan Dedicott, 'Voice of the Balls' (Voice of the Baking?) off of the National Lottery. Complete with a plumb, if excitable English Welsh accent crossed with Cruella-de-Vil-baddie style laugh.

We each lined all our cookbooks up, as though soldiers going to battle. And then, in my role as Alan Overlord I got to select a random number relating to the number of cookbooks Dom had, and a further random page number to select a recipe.

Did Dom win the lottery with my number choosing? You decide: he'll be making Grilled Mackeral with a Caeser Potato Salad.

Meanwhile Dom, when it was his turn to play the Alan Overlord role, randomly selected this recipe for me:

(from Mrs Beeton's Complete Book of Cakes and Biscuits, first published 1989)


25g cherries, chopped
100g mixed peel
50g flaked almonds
100g chopped almonds
25g sultanas or raisins
100g butter
100g caster sugar
30ml double cream
100g plain 70% cocoa chocolate

Preheat the oven 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line three baking sheets or you can use silicone moulds

1. Melt butter and sugar in a small pan over a gentle heat, stirring with a wooden spoon continuously.
2. Once melted, remove from the heat and mix in the fruit and nuts
3. Whip the cream in a separate bowl then fold in to the rest of the mixture
4.  Place small spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheet, ensuring you have left room for the mixture to spread out, which it will do so in the oven. Or alternatively spoon into the silicone moulds and press down firmly.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden in colour and 'bubbling' (you'll see!)
6. Allow to firm up slightly before removing from the baking sheets or silicone moulds
7. Melt the chocolate in a small pyrex bowl suspended over a pan of gently simmering water. Once melted coat the underside of each florentine and pop in the fridge to set

Baker's notes...

  • I halved this recipe, as 24 florentines seemed an awful lot. Even for me.
  • Using the silicone moulds was a stroke of genius, and not one I can claim credit for. Ruth over at The Pink Whisk had this very, very, very sensible idea. The florentines maintained their shape in the oven rather than than congealing together in one great posh-Italian-biscuit mess on the baking trays. 
  • You could use milk or white chocolate. I actually poured the melted chocolate over the cooled florentines while they were still in the silicone moulds, which again meant they kept their shape.
  • This is the fairly 'traditional', (although very very tasty) Florentine recipe. You could use dried cranberries or blueberries instead of raisins or sultanas. And pecans or hazelnuts instead of almonds.
  • These would make the perfect Christmas gift. 


  1. Yum! Yours look great! Love the heart shaped moulds, I made a giant heart shaped one, I intend to eat it at my desk tomorrow for elevensies!

  2. How pretty - I have never thought of shaping florentines before.

    P.S Where do you get decorated doilies?

  3. they look stunning!... so pretty... i adore Florentines... chewy and chocolatey... Alan Overlord indeed... can I find fresh mackerel anywhere? can I buggery?... thanks so much for being my RR partner and thank you for taking part again this month! xxx

  4. These look amazing and yes they would be good for Christmas! Bookmarking now :)

  5. You WON on this one Kate! LOVE Florentines and those take the biscuit! LOL! Poor Dom and his floundering attempt at locating fresh mackerel!
    GREAT post as always Kate!

  6. I think you definitely won on that one. Put it this way, I'd rather visit you to be fed than Dom this month!!!

    I love the way you've used the silicon moulds to keep their shape - so clever with such a pretty result!

  7. I think these look like my sort of chocolatey treat! Like the tip about using the moulds and putting the chocolate on while still in their moulds too, clever!

  8. These are so pretty - love the elegant heart shape. Look very moreish too!

  9. Thank you for all your comments!

    Hannah: the dollies were a present, but I believe they were from John Lewis last Spring

    Dom: Ahh, yes, the mackerel. Sorry!!

    Lucy: They were very very very moreih! When I make a batch for Christmas I'll have to make double to feed my sweet tooth!

  10. Love Florentines..an often forgotten treat!

  11. He he, I know who came off better in your round ;-) Love Florentines and love your heart shaped ones. Baking them in a mould is a brilliant idea. I was thinking of making these for Christmas this year - along with a million other things I'll not get around too!

  12. Fantastic recipe - lucky you!

    Love your presentation.


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