Fresh off my Italian adventure, I’ve been in quite the mood to dive back into my kitchen and prepare Italian favorites my style — i.e. gluten and dairy-free! While I didn’t visit Florence on this trip, it apparently doesn’t matter, for these lacy, delicate, so-called “Florentine” cookies weren’t born in the Tuscan capital at all. They were likely instead hatched in France, using traditional French ingredients like cream, butter, flour and chocolate, and the favorite French cooking method of making a roux. (read here to see more on the speculation of the origin of Florentines)
At any rate, I was intrigued by these unusual cookies and also had a bit of a sweet tooth after a week in Italy with nary a gluten-free dessert. I can happily assure you that these fancy cookies, though lacking in accurate history, lack nothing in taste!
This is quite a simple recipe, too. If you choose to leave off the optional chocolate drizzle, there’s really not much to be done but to chop the nuts. I love quick and impressive-looking recipes – no one needs to know your secret that these are a breeze to whip up!
Enjoy my take on the Florentine – the New World’s version of this Old World fancy favorite!
- 4 Tbs. butter or non-dairy alternative (Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (evaporated cane; vegan sugar; etc.)
- 2 Tbs. honey or agave nectar
- 1 cup (150 gr) coarsely chopped nuts (I used peanuts & raw almonds)
- 2 tsp. citrus peel/zest (lemon; orange; etc.)
- 2/3 cup (90 gr) Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- pinch of salt (only if the nuts you use are not salted)
Optional Chocolate Drizzle:
Preheat oven to 325° F (static).
In a small saucepan, melt butter with sugar and honey over low-medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a gentle boil, then remove from heat.
Chop nuts and stir together in a small bowl with citrus peel, Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour, baking powder and salt, if using. Add melted butter mixture and stir well.
Spoon tablespoons of mix onto parchment-lined baking sheets – spaced at least 2 inches apart to allow for spread. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-11 minutes, or until the mixture has spread into flattened, lacey, light brown cookies. Remove to cool on a wire rack while baking the next sheet of cookies. Cool completely before storing or adding chocolate drizzle.
If using chocolate:
Once the cookies are fully cooled, prepare the melted chocolate by placing the chocolate and oil in a medium-sized heatproof bowl or saucepan. Fill a slightly larger saucepan filled with 1 inch of water and bring to a low simmer; set the chocolate bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir until melted and smooth.
“Brush” onto the undersides of the cooled cookies with a rubber spatula, drizzle over the tops of the cookies in geometric or fun designs, or place a dollop in the middle of one cookie and sandwich with another.
Store separated by parchment or waxed paper, in an air-tight container or freeze.
Yield: Approximately 20 cookies.