Week 2 (Biscuits) presented the florentine as a technical challenge. These cookies are made of nuts and candied fruit melded together with a caramel-like consistency, then dipped in chocolate. The cookies need to be thin and lacey without falling apart.
Gathering the ingredients was a challenge in and of itself! I had to buy another type of sugar (putting me at a grand total of 5 types of sugar in my house). Golden syrup is not something traditionally sold in the U.S. Essentially golden syrup is the lighter cousin of molasses. Some people have substituted this with corn syrup, but I’ve been warned against that. I had to order it on Amazon.
Apparently “candied peel” isn’t an American staple either, so I’ve been forced to substitute with dried apricots. I’m hoping the similar texture will be okay.
There are lots of small nuts and chopped fruits for this. I cut and weighed them, then cut them again to make sure they were really finely chopped.
2. Melt & Mix
The sugar gets melted into the heated golden syrup (which tastes a bit like honeycomb) and incorporated with butter as it melts. Does this count as a caramel?
3. Spread & Bake
I think I should have spent more time at this step to make sure they were proportionate and well-shaped. I also stacked the cookies thicker than I should have, which prevented some spread.
4. Temper Chocolate & Spread
I’m giving myself kudos for beautifully tempering this chocolate. It was shiny and pretty. I brushed on the chocolate to the backs of the cookies, but that zigzag was tough! I got pretty decent lines once I realized I should be using the back of the fork.
As I’m not the biggest fan of nuts and dried fruits, I did not care for the taste. I’ve never had a florentine so I wasn’t sure if there was supposed to be a “snap” or if they should be as chewy as mine. I had some others try the cookies and they enjoyed the taste, so I’m blaming my personal bias against almonds and dried apricots.
I got some laciness on the larger cookies, which spread more. I did not however manage 18 cookies, only 12. I must have used too much batter and not spread the cookies enough. I got some odd shapes and the sizes weren’t consistent.
The chocolate, however, did not leak through the cookies. It was well-tempered and shiny even if the zigzag wasn’t the prettiest.
I definitely wouldn’t be in the top three for this technical challenge but I don’t think I’d be at the bottom either (mostly because I didn’t use a cookie cutter- sorry Enwezor!)