Coconut Florentines

by Lisa Davies

Sadly, holiday cookies often fall into one of two camps: they either look great and taste awful or look awful and taste great.  Very rarely will you find one that does both.

Given the choice, I'll always default to taste over looks and take the yummy cookie over the cute cookie, but here are two recipes that do both. Firstly, the elegantly ornamental Spiced Gingerbread Cookies and secondly, the decadently dressed Coconut Florentines.

Of course, when I say decadent, I also refer to the fact that the Florentines are made with 70% dark chocolate.  That's 70% at a minimum. You see? I'm all about taste: if you're going to eat great looking things they absolutely have to be made with REAL ingredients. And that means butter and that means sugar and that means 70% dark chocolate!!!

Coconut Florentines
These decadent florentines are worth the calories. Trust me.

A traditional florentine is made with glace cherries and mixed peel, but as I'm not a huge fan of either I've used  jewel-like cranberries and dried apricot instead. Feel free to use whatever dried fruit combination you like. Just be sure you use a good quality chocolate. Did I mention the 70% minimum?

2oz unsalted butter
¼ cup soft brown sugar
2 tsp honey
¼ cup flaked almonds, roughly chopped
2 tbs dried cranberries (or glace cherries)
2 tbs dried apricots, chopped
2 tbs golden raisins, chopped
1/3 cup plain flour
4oz dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small pan melt the butter, brown sugar and honey until it is melted and all the ingredients are combined. Remove from the heat and add the nuts, dried fruit and flour. Mix well.
Grease and line 2 baking pans with parchment paper. Place level tablespoons of the mixture well apart on the tray. Reshape and flatten the biscuits into 2” rounds before cooking.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool for a few minutes then move to a wire rack to completely cool.
To melt the chocolate, break it into small pieces and put in a heat proof bowl. Bring a pan of water to a simmer, remove from the heat and place the bowl over the pan. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Spread the melted chocolate on the bottom of each florentine and using a fork make a wavy pattern before it sets. Let the chocolate set before serving.
Makes 12. Ideal for a few guests or a indulgent after alone watching It's A Wonderful Life on dvd.

Lisa Davies previously enjoyed a career in marketing and as a brand strategist and is now filling her  days taking care of her twins – The Ladies™ just outside of NYC in suburban wilderness.
Her love of food started at home as her mum made sure they ate very well. Later on as a student in France and Spain, she discovered cheese. More recently she took La Technique course at the French Culinary Institute in SoHo, NYC where she really enjoyed dressing up in my chef’s whites. Lisa has a food blog and writes a column What's for Dinner?  on Barista Kids. She can be found tweeting @lilysiand.