If you've never tried the Italian specialty known as florentines, you're in for a real treat. These classic Italian confections fall somewhere between cookie and candy, with a delicate, lacy texture dotted with chopped nuts and citrus zest. Typically, they're made with butter, but I decided to see what would happen if I made them with olive oil, and trust you me, I was not disappointed.
The olive oil adds a nice accent flavor to the almond, sugar, and honey in the batter. These cookies might be slim in profile, but they're big in flavor--and even better when drizzled with a nice dark chocolate (I used 85% cacao!).
Olive Oil Florentines
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
Yield: about 30 cookies
- 1 ½ cups sliced blanched almonds
- 1 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 bar (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate
In a large bowl, combine the almonds, flour, lemon zest, and salt. Give it a good stir to combine; set to the side.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, olive oil, and honey. Heat on low, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to bubble and the sugar begins to dissolve. Once the sugar is assertively dissolved (it doesn’t need to be completely dissolved), remove from heat, and add the almond mixture to the pot. Stir to combine; the mixture will be somewhat loose but sticky. Let the mixture cool for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
While the cookie mixture cools, position a rack in the middle position of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set two wire racks out on your countertop.
Once the cookie mixture has cooled to the point where it is only warm to the touch or room temperature, spoon about 2 teaspoons’ worth of batter into mounds on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a full 2 inches around each cookie to allow for spreading. The mixture will be somewhat crumbly; do the best you can to press the mounds together. Once they bake, the sugar will melt them into a cohesive form. Expect to get about 8 cookies per sheet.
Bake the cookies until golden, flattened, and lacy-looking, from 6-10 minutes (keep a very close eye on them). Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and slide the entire sheet of parchment paper (with the cookies right on it!) on to the wire racks. Allow the cookies to “set” for several minutes; they will harden as they cool.
Repeat with the remaining batter, using fresh parchment paper for each batch.
Let the cookies cool completely before proceeding.
When you’re ready to garnish, melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Drizzle on top of the finished cookies.
Store leftover cookies in a single layer (or in layers divided by parchment paper) at room temperature for up to 1 week. The cookies can also be frozen for up to 1 month, though it is suggested that you drizzle with chocolate after defrosting the cookies for best results.