Italian Florentine Cookies are lace cookies made from chopped almonds with orange & vanilla. They are then sandwiched with chocolate and you get the most delicious cookies. Serve with hot espresso or coffee to transport you right to Florence, Italy. Crunchy and almost toffee-like, the flavor combinations are just perfect.
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 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.
The dried orange is a delicious addition, as would many dried fruits. You can also leave it out and they will still taste good.
If you like to make your own dried/candied orange peel, here’s the recipe:
2 cups granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
3/4 cup water
- Cut the top and bottom off the oranges. Score the skin from top to bottom around the orange and peel. Cut the peel into strips, about 1/4 inches wide.
- Add water to a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Add the orange slices and blanch (boil) for 2 minutes.
- Drain, discard water and repeat 2 more times. This is to reduce the bitterness.
- In the same saucepan, whisk the sugar and the 3/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and is simmering.
- Add the orange peels and reduce heat to continue to simmer until the peels are translucent, about 45 minutes. DO NOT STIR. This will produce sugar crystals, but you can swirl the pan if needed to move the peels around.
- Drain the peels onto parchment paper and discard the syrup.
- Roll the peels in the sugar and allow to dry on a rack for 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
- Store in an air tight container until needed.
When preparing the dough to make the cookies, make the balls as round as possible, this will make nice round cookies. The dough will spread as they bake.
To drizzle chocolate over the cookie, put the melted chocolate into a small ziploc bag. Snip of a very tiny piece of the corner and pipe over the cookie. This will allow you to get the perfect drizzle.
The recipe calls for peeled almonds, which isn’t an easy thing to do so I have a post here on how to do that. Link> How to peel almonds.