My husband is Italian and so we have a great love for Italy and have been fortunate to have been to many cities there many times. Lake Como and Florence are our favorite and so are Florentine cookies that originated there in the Renaissance period.
Our love of Florentines came about on one of our annual trips to Carmel-by-the-Sea in Central Coast California. Our favorite restaurant is the Italian restaurant Il Fornaio (the baker). The restaurant serves Florentine cookies and we just fell in love with them, so after many years of eating them, I finally have my own recipe.
Sometimes called lace cookies, Florentine cookies are made of finely chopped almonds with a hint of orange and vanilla, then either dipped or sandwiched with chocolate.
- 5 ounces raw almonds click here for how to peel almonds, peeled
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons candied orange peel
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 20 ounces semi sweet dark chocolate chips or a bar cut into small chunks *see note
- Position oven rack in the center of the oven.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped with a few larger pieces.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the almonds, flour and orange peel.
- In a small saucepan add the sugar, cream corn syrup and butter.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a rolling boil and the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Continue to boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Add the mixture to the almond mixture. Stir until combined.
- Allow to cool until it is cool enough to handle, about 30-40 minutes.
- Using a teaspoon measuring spoon, portion out 1 teaspoon of dough and roll into a ball using your hands. Roll the balls as round as you can, this will ensure nice round cookies.
- Place the dough balls 3 inches apart on to the prepared baking sheet (they will spread during baking). You'll be working in batches.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. If they join together, use a sharp knife to separate while they are hot and soft on the baking sheet as they will harden very quickly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- In a microwave safe bowl, add the dark chocolate and microwave in 10 second increments, stirring in between until melted. Be careful not to burn.
- Take a cooled cookie, spread the chocolate on one side, take another cookie and make a sandwich. Repeat with all cookies.
- If you would like to drizzle chocolate on the top, put the melted chocolate into a small ziploc bag. Snip of a very tiny piece of the corner and this will allow you to get the perfect drizzle.
- Allow to cool and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
* I prefer dark chocolate, but any that you like can be used.