Salted Peanut and Dark Chocolate Florentines

A great idea for a gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, whenever.

I had originally intended this to come out at Christmas, as that is the time when I usually make these little babies. But, as it always is at that time of year, especially for those who cook or bake, I was too busy. So, here it is.

The recipe for these comes from ‘John Whaite Bakes’ by 2012’s Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite. Do you remember that series? John was my joint favourite contestant that year alongside James Morton, well there’s nothing sexier than a man who cooks/bakes. You agree with me ladies?

In the book Mr Whaite says these are inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe. What I like about them is that they are easy to make, you don’t need to bother adding cream and trying not to let it split, which quite frankly scares the shit out of me. You just melt butter, sugar and liquid glucose in a pan, mix in some flour, fruit and nuts; then you spoon the mixture onto baking trays, bake, cool and drizzle over chocolate. Easy peasy!

These make a great little gift to take if you’re going to someone’s house for dinner, or to stay for a few days.

Salted Peanut and Dark Chocolate Florentines – adapted from John Whaite Bakes by John Whaite – makes approx a dozen

One idea I’ve got for a variation of this is chopped almonds and dried sour cherries. You know like a sort of Bakewell tart flavour.

60g unsalted butter
60g light brown sugar
2 tsp liquid glucose (which you can buy in tubes in the supermarket)
4 dried apricots, finely chopped
150g salted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
Approx 100g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat your oven to 180c/gas 4, and line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment.

Gently melt the butter, sugar and liquid glucose over a medium heat, stirring until everything’s melted and evenly combined. Mix in the fruit, nuts and flour until everything is well amalgamated.

Using teaspoons, dollop spoonfuls of the buttery mixture onto the prepared baking trays, leaving large gaps between each one to allow for the florentines to spread during baking. (You may have to do this in batches as I had to.)

Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes. The florentines will resemble maps of Africa, but don’t worry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays. Once cool, they should be firm enough to handle and a beautiful bronze colour like varnished oak. Remove from the paper and place on wire racks placed over foil, this is to catch any drips.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water, and allow to melt. Once melted, decorate the florentines as desired, and leave to set. I did mine by coating the edges in chocolate and drizzling over any remaining chocolate in the style of Jackson Pollack.

Serve with coffee, or vanilla ice cream.

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