Meera Sodha’s Vegan Gift Recipe for Jeweled Florentines | Vegan food and drink

I I don’t mind telling you that when I first tried the Florentines, I ate the whole can. It’s outrageous that a single cookie can display so many talents at once: incredibly crisp and lacy edges, a chewy caramel center, perfectly roasted nuts and all coated in a thin, silky chocolate wrapper. That’s why I think it’s one of the best gifts I can give someone for Christmas. Unless I eat them all first, that is.

Florentines adorned with jewels

Preperation 5 minutes
to cook 35 minutes
Makes About 20

You will need one large baking sheet (I used one that is 30cm x 40cm) or two smaller ones.

50 g unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
75g candied ginger, finely chopped
75g flaked almonds
50g chopped hazelnuts
100 g dried cranberries
, or sour berries
2 tablespoons of plain flour
½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
75g vegan butter
, chopped
50g soft light brown sugar
50g golden syrup
100g dark chocolate
(suitable for vegans)

Heat oven to 200C (180C fan) / 390F / gas 6 and line a large baking sheet (I have a reusable baking mat).

Place the pistachio kernels, candied ginger, almonds, hazelnuts and berries in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt and cinnamon and mix well.

In a medium saucepan large enough to contain all the ingredients, heat the butter, sugar and golden syrup over low to medium heat, stirring, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the fruit and nut mixture.

While still hot, pour the mixture into the lined baking sheet and roll it out into a 25cm x 35cm rectangle. Press down on the mixture with the back of a wooden spoon, so it’s an even layer (avoid creating gaps, though). Bake in the center of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown all over, then remove and let stand and cool completely.

Once the Florentine mixture has cooled, break the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 20 seconds, remove and stir, then repeat in 20 second bursts until the chocolate has almost, but not completely, melted – the rest will melt in the residual heat. Using a spoon, sprinkle all the melted chocolate Jackson Pollock style on the Florentine mixture, then leave to cool and bring to room temperature (do not put the plate in the refrigerator).

When the chocolate has set, very carefully turn the Florentine mixture over on a cutting board and leave it on its side with a knife nearby for people to help themselves to, or cut it into even bars and wrap in foil. parchment paper tied with ribbon, as a gift.

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Tanya S. Norvell