Florentines…

A little something no Santa can resist...

 

A Christmas staple in my family is the humble florentine… I’m not sure whether it’s particularly Christmasy but I know they are my Dad’s favourite and that’s reason if any to make them during the festive season… A couple of weeks ago my husband and I finally graduated from Theology… It was a weekend of mixed emotions… excitement at finally finishing… relief as the assignments slowed down to a light trickle… and reticence at what the future would hold… Ultimately it was our family that got us through… their continual encouragement… optimism… and general cheerleading meant we could enjoy the weekend the way we intended even if the prospect of packing up our house loomed once the ceremonies were over… I think it was Saturday lunch when Nan whipped out the florentines… and they were an allround crowdpleaser… the crunchy cornflakes and bitey nuts smothered in a crisp sweet coating… the addition of dried fruit with the glistening cherries add a definite hint of Christmas cheer… and who can resist something that is smothered in chocolate!

 

 

Christmas reminds me of the blessing of family… this recipe comes form my nan.. with adaptations and I hope it reminds you of family traditions and recipes that you bring out at Christmas and share!

Happy Baking!

 

Florentines
Adapted from Nan’s recipe.

Ingredients:
3 cups cornflakes
100g cherries
1 1/2 cups mixed fruit
110g sliced almonds
1 tin condensed milk
200g good quality dark chocolate

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Add tin of condensed milk and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
4. Spoon mixture on to baking sheets lined with baking paper. HINT: If you use a large soup spoon you can fill the spoon, drag it up against the side of the bowl and then hold upside down onto the baking sheet and get a nice shape. It gets a little sticky so make sure you have a finger or teaspoon handy to scrape out the extra.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t be afraid to leave them a little longer as you want them to be crunchy and crisp. Under cooking you’ll end up with a chewy biscuit that can sometimes fall apart.
6. Break the chocolate into a heatproof jug and melt in the microwave.
7. Using an offset spatula spread chocolate liberally over the flat side of the florentines.
8. Refrigerate until set.

Advertisements

Oh so frenchy… Oh so chic… Vanilla Macarons with an Orange and White Chocolate Ganache…

For those of you who’ve been watching Masterchef as avidly as I have you would know that in just over 1hr 15minutes they are going to be making mountains upon mountains of Macarons… Very exciting! Thus I was inspired and decided I NEEDED make my own frenchy little almond delights… It may also have been some unusual desire to prove that I also was Masterchef quality… N.B I didn’t have a piping bag… It’s not an excuse I swear.. just.. take it into consideration…

The thing I love about these tasty little morsels? Not only are they moorishly delicious but they are extremely versatile… add a few drops of food colouring and you have some amazing coloured little treats… add a few different flavours or colours to the filling and you can have as many different morsels as you can imagine! So I did a little research last night and found some different recipes but I was a little limited in my ingredients so nothing fancy here just a few little adjustments I made to the recipe below to fit what was in the cupboard (these macarons were a little spur of the moment)…

but I cannot wait to start experimenting with different flavours and colours! Luckily… my Mum turns 50 next month… and I think these would make a perfect addition to the dessert spread….

see the teeny little flecks of vanilla bean? YUMMO!

Now don’t be stressed and don’t feel to daunted but I’m going to provide a little video (they are a lot prettier than mine)…. not because they are super hard to make but because it just shows some different ways of doing things and is also fun to watch… if you’re a food show addict like I am!

Vanilla Macarons with an Orange and White Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons at Epicurious and Orange Ganache from Happy Flour

For Macarons
  • 2 cups blanched almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tblsp sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
Recipe

1. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

2. Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup icing sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Sift in remaining cup icing sugar, stirring to combine.

3. Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks. Scrape the inside of the vanilla bean into the whites and mix at low speed until evenly combined. Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)

4. Spoon batter into piping bag with a large round nozzle. Pipe peaked mounds of batter (about the size of a 20 cent coin) onto lined sheets about 5cm apart. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 140°C.

6. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes.

For Ganache

  • 120g white chocolate
  • 50g thick cream
  • Grated rind of 1 orange
  • 2tbsp orange juice

Recipe

1. Heat cream in a saucepan.

2. Pour over white chocolate.

3. Whisk in orange rind and juice, whisking until smooth.

4. Allow to cool.

To Assemble

1. Fill a piping bag with ganache and a medium round nozzle.

2. Pipe from the inside making an even swirl coming just about 3ml short of the edge of the macaron.

3. Gentle push another macaron on top.

4. Share them with all your friends and work mates because they are very high in calories and guaranteed to cheer up even the crankiest boss…

N.B More pictures to come… I was just in a bit of a rush for this post!

Also… Macarons isn’t a spelling mistake.. in fact it’s the actually french way to spell and technically to say it… though I don’t have the sultry french accent together yet…

My little macaron with his best friend Cappucino...

Happy Baking!