I found my love for florentines in highschool when I worked for an Italian Cantinetta. I swear that was the best job; tasting and sampling new goodies everyday. It was a brand new restaurant/cafe so the chefs and pastry chef were experimenting in the kitchen all the time. I was lucky enough to be a guinea pig, mmmm. Of all the many delightful things I was able to nibble on each day, florentines were always my favorite. Something about the delicate crunch you get when you take that first bite, the brittleness of the almonds, the nuttiness of the butter, and tangy zest from the orange. I simply can't find enough words to describe what it is like to bite into one of these cookies. After the cafe closed, I cried, for weeks. Not really, but close. Anytime I had the opportunity to find one of these pastries and buy one it was done, in bulk. It didn't even cross my mind once I took up my nack for baking to try and make some. Until....the much mentioned foodgawker came into my life. I saw a post for a divine looking florentine and HAD to check it out. I was soon in shock, because the much beloved, insanely rich and decadent cookie, had mainly 6 ingredients, whoa. I almost cried, again, for the second time over these cookies, but tears of sweet joy! (literally) I had everything in my fridge and pantry already, I was ready to rock. I can't quite remember what happened next, from what I recall, I woke up in bed with a tummy ache, crumbs all over my face, and a half eaten cookie in hand...I apparently had passed out from eating the entire batch. Like the Blue Ridge Baker states, if you have yet to try one of these, put it at the top of your list! But be careful, there so good they may cause memory lapse. ;)
original recipe here
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 tablespoon unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons orange zest
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 oz semisweet chocolate
Combine almonds, flour, zest and salt in medium-sized bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix together sugar, butter, cream and agave and stir continually until mixture comes to a boil. Pour over almond mixture and stir to combine. Let cool for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, meanwhile, preheat oven to 350. When dough is cool enough to handle, place 6 tablespoon-sized mounds of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and press them into relatively flat disks. These cookies spread a lot, so give them as much space as you can. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are caramel in color and the centers are tinged with golden but still look a little moist. Cool on baking sheet for about 2 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely. In the meantime, melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Transfer cool cookies to paper towel and blot any butter residue from them. Drizzle melted chocolate over cookies, dip cookies in melted chocolate, spread chocolate on the backs of cookies and make them into sandwiches (or leave them as chocolate-backed single cookies). Go wild!
I did all of the above AND decided that homemade ricotta whipping cream would be great paired with these. I was right.