In the Cookie Jar

Florentines (Almond Lace Cookies)

Florentines are crisp, delicate cookies that are pliable when taken from the oven and may be cut with cookie cutters or formed into shapes while they are still pretty hot.  They are often used as a garnish, or "crunch component" in plated desserts, and that’s what I’ve used them for in a couple upcoming posts. 

Anyway, without further chit chat, here’s how you make them.

You will need:

3 oz flour (pastry flour is suggested, but you can use AP as well.  I did – it’s what I had on hand.)

3 oz granulated sugar

3 oz softened unsalted butter

3  1/2 oz corn syrup

3 oz blanched almonds, sliced and crushed

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Combine the butter and sugar in a mixer,

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Then add the flour.  And then the corn syrup.  Beat until creamy.  Then add in the crushed almonds and mix until the nuts completely incorporated.

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Scrape the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper

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and form into a log, lengthwise on the parchment paper.

Roll the parchment over the dough log and tighten, using a bench scraper to help squeeze the parchment against the dough and tighten the whole thing so there are no air bubbles and the log lengthens and its diameter becomes uniform – about 1  3/4 inches or so.

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Then twist the ends and tie them to seal, and place in the freezer or fridge until the dough is firm.

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When the dough is cold and firm, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and get out a pan and line it with either parchment paper or a silpat, if you have one.

Cut 1/8 inch slices from your log of dough (though in looking at the image below, obviously I cut them thicker.  I wanted large circles for my recent purposes).

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Place on the baking surface, with plenty of space between them, as they spread quite a bit as they cook.

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You only want to do a few at a time, if you’re planning to shape them in any way, as once they start to cool they will become less pliable.  If that happens, you can put them back in the oven briefly to warm (and soften).

You want to bake them until they are completely golden brown.  The ones you see below are only just starting to brown around the edges.  See how much they spread when they cook?  That’s why you want a lot of space between them.

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Ah, this is better:

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Now, when you first take them out, they will be way too hot and way too soft to work with. 

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In the picture above, I’m trying to lift up the edge of the cookie with a spatula – it’s too soft to hold together with the rest of the cookie – if I continued to lift, the cookie would tear. 

Wait about a minute once you take them out of the oven, and then try.  They should come off the parchment or silpat easily.  They will be hot, there’s just no getting around that if you want to shape them or use cookie cutters. 

If you want to cut out specific shapes, place the soft cookie on a cutting board and press down HARD with your cookie cutter.  The nuts make it a little harder to cut through than you might expect.  Once you’ve pressed the cutter in to the cookie, pull or cut away the outer excess cookie and then lift the cutter.  (The trimmed edges are great crumbled up and sprinkled on ice cream.  Or you can just eat them while you work.  Or feed them to the birds.)  Set the cookies on a rack to finish cooling.  Keep in mind these are very, very brittle, so handle them gently.

Another option is to shape the cookies – the whole cookies, right off the silpat – into a thin cylindrical cookie.  This can be filled with whipped cream, or dipped in chocolate, or just left plain.  Anyway, here’s what you do:

Get a few wooden spoons with straight handles ready.  Lift a hot cookie up and drape one end over the handle of the spoon.

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Working quickly, roll the rest of the cookie around the spoon handle and set on a rack to cool.

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Once the cookie has firmed up, remove the wooden spoon.

Another option – something I didn’t do this time around, so I don’t have a picture – you could press the cookie into a ramekin or a small cup or a muffin tin to form little cookie cups.

You can also wrap them around metal cone forms to make little cookie cones.  Or just shape them by hand into something free form.  Have fun!

Here are a bunch that I did recently, in preparing for this post and some of the "Valentine’s Day Ideas" posts:

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Now, another thing you can do is melt some chocolate

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You can microwave it if you want to, but just nuke it for short periods of time – 30 seconds – and then stir, then 30 seconds and then stir – so you don’t burn it.

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When it’s all melty and smooth, one thing you can do is take one of your heart cutouts (or whatever shape you did) and spread some of the chocolate on one cookie and then sandwich that with another cookie.  The chocolate will seep through the holes of the cookie a bit before it hardens.  Here’s what you get:

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Or you can spread it just on one half of a cookie…

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Or drizzle some chocolate over the cylinders…

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Or dip the ends of cylinders (or cones, in this case) directly in the chocolate…

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Be creative!  Have fun!  And remember – you get to eat your mistakes!

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16 thoughts on “Florentines (Almond Lace Cookies)

  1. Thank you soo much, I’ve been trying to figure this recipe out for 8 years and finally googled upon your blog. You made our thanksgiving end on a delicious note: strawberries in an almond lace cookie basket.
    rubyjunecafe.blogspot.com

    Thanks again! -rubyjune

  2. I have been trying to find these cookies forever. When I was a little girl my family and I would go to a little bakery down the street from our house in California. The only diference that I can find between your recipe and the ones that I remember is that they were folled but also stuffed with some kind of custard. Do you know any recipes that fit this description.

    Thank You,
    Tammy

  3. Hmmm, a custard?  I’m thinking maybe a pastry cream of some kind?  And were they folded, or rolled into a cylinder?  If you need a basic pastry cream recipe, let me know! 

  4. Hey, Jayne

    The cookies that I remember having were rolled and then stuffed with cream. I would love to have a basic cream recipe if you have one.

    Thank You,
    Tammy

  5. I found these incredibly troublesome. I tried several ways to prevent these from sticking (& followed directions to the tee,) short of using silpat, which I do not own — maybe that’s the key. I had to throw out each and every batch: they went from too soft to handle/roll, to too firm & stuck to the pan, in about a second flat. I don’t remember the last time I made florentines being so difficult, though I’ve always only used butter in the past — no corn syrup. Think I’ll stick with that – it’s healthier anyway! Sorry to report such a negative experience! :/

  6. Hi Meg,

    Sorry you had such a bad experience with these. As I remember, the recipes from a cooking school cookbook Ive got. Maybe using a silpat is the key. Anyway, Im glad you have another recipe to fall back on!

  7. I can’t wait to try this recipe, but I have a question. How do you measure out the ounces? Am I missing something here? 🙂

  8. Hi Jessica, I have a kitchen scale, so I can measure the weights of the ingredients. Some recipes I use call for weight (especially baking), while others call for teaspoons and cups and so forth.

  9. Hi, Jayne!
    Re: cream-filled florentines – I used to be able to get them at a grocery store (Safeway?) in Portland, OR, and remember the sweetness and texture of the cream. I presently live in the South where everything has sugar of some sort in it and I believe the cream in the PDX variety was made by whipping heavy cream until almost stiff, adding vanilla, and then gradually sifting powdered sugar into it until it was stiff enough to put through a pastry cloth into the rolled florentines. Those from the store were also dipped – one end – in chocolate. They also sold flat ones half dipped in chocolate. I have yet to try making them, but they are on my list. Thanks for the recipe and easy to follow instructions.

  10. I finally made my own florentines after years of intending to do so. Both recipes I tried over the past week have been good but it was only the 2nd one that let me roll them up into cigars successfully. While surfing the net looking for good filling ideas I ran across your florentine hearts.

    I never thought of using a cookie cutter to turn that circle into a more romantic heart. I’ll have to give it a try. Thank you for the idea. My florentine post is here.

    http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/155566.html

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