Florentines. Lace Cookies. No matter what you call them, these cookies are simply fantastic. Simple in their modest lace-like structure and fantastic in their deeply rich butterscotch-like flavor. The perfect accompaniment to coffee and the perfect garnish to silky pudding or creamy ice cream. Eat them as they are, decorate them with dark chocolate drizzles, or sandwich them with melted semi-sweet chocolate. Any way you have it, these cookies are impressive in their simple elegance and addictive in their fantastic taste.
I remember first discovering Florentine cookies at Trader Joe’s many years ago. There they were called Lacey cookies, delicate Florentines sandwiched with melted chocolate. I loved them for their lovely appearance and delicious taste, but had put them out of my mind since going gluten-free. That is until I ran across a photo of Florentine cookies on TasteSpotting a few months ago. Upon seeing them, I had a surge of buttery longings for those forgotten sweet, crisp cookies. It was time for a gluten-free recreation. And the result came out fabulously. A sweet butterscotch flavor that is nothing short of superb when sandwiched with semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Yum!
A note on shelf life: When freshly made, these cookies are crisp with a very slight buttery chew. As they age over a few days, they will become chewier and more bendable, but still exceptionally delicious. If you prefer crispier Florentines, these should be eaten the same day they are made. Otherwise the shelf life is around 3 days, stored in an air-tight container with parchment placed between the cookies. But believe me, these cookies will probably disappear even before that third day rolls around!
Adapted from Food Network
Yield: 5 dozen 3-inch cookies
1 3/4 cup (5 oz) blanched almonds
3 Tbsp GF Flour Mix*
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
5 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, pulse the almonds until very finely ground. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together ground almonds, GF flour, and salt.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cream, corn syrup, and butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a rolling boil. Let boil without stirring for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla, then add to dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Set batter aside for 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle (mixture will still be slightly warm).
For 3-inch cookies, scoop out ½-teaspoon-sized amounts of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving 4 to 5 inches of space between each cookie to allow for spreading (for larger cookies, scoop out teaspoon-sized balls and leave more space in between on pan).
Bake one pan at a time until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout, about 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan after 5 minutes (make sure Florentines are fully browned to ensure a crispy cookie). Remove from oven and slide parchment paper off baking sheet, allowing the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the paper.
If desired, decorate cooled cookies with drizzled chocolate or sandwich two cookies with ½ teaspoon melted semi-sweet chocolate (do not add too much melted chocolate, as it will seep through the holes in the cookie). Allow chocolate to set, and then store cookies in air-tight container at room temperature.
*GF Flour Mix
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch