For my December recipe for Balance Garden I wanted to do something sweet and Christmassy – florentines immediately came to mind. I often buy the little ones from M&S as Christmas gifts, so doing a homemade version was an obvious choice.
I originally decided to make them vegan as I have a number of vegan or dairy-free friends, and wanted something everyone could enjoy together . I’m glad to say they were devoured by all – far too moreish to have just one I’m afraid!
In the recipe below, I have given the option to use butter, if you prefer.
You can read the full article on Balance Garden here.
30g butter, or vegan butter/spread
30g soft brown sugar
40g dried cranberries, roughly chopped
40g dried cherries, roughly chopped
30g flaked almonds
30g pecans, roughly chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
zest of 1 orange
100g dark chocolate, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark four. Line two large baking sheets with greaseproof baking paper.
- Over a low-medium heat, melt the butter and sugar until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, place the dried fruit and nuts in a bowl, along with the zest. Add the flour and coat evenly. Stir in the melted butter and sugar, making sure everything is well combined.
- Place one heaped teaspoon of the mixture onto a baking sheet and flatten without gaps. Continue until you have 8 mounds on each sheet. Leave about 3 cm between them, as they will spread out as they cook.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown, then leave to cool on the sheet.
- While these are cooling, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and stir occasionally until melted.
- Once the Florentines have cooled, carefully remove them from the tray. Then, with a teaspoon, spread the bottom of each one with chocolate. Once completely set, store in an airtight container.