Sunday, November 27, 2005

Spiced Sesame Orange Florentines with Cashew Nuts & Fleur de Sel

Cookie Swap 2005

photograph picture of Spiced Sesame Orange Florentines with Cashew Nuts & Fleur de Sel with recipe

I recently discovered how easy it is to make Florentines. All you need to get started is the basic recipe and then you can experiment with different nuts and flavours.

Ingredients
3/4 cup of Bakers Sugar
1/4 cup of Honey
4 tablespoons of Butter
1/4 cup of Creme Fraiche
Grated Zest of Half an Orange
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/3 cup of sifted plain flour
2 handfuls of hulled white sesame seeds
2 handfuls of raw cashews, chopped into small pieces
Large pinch of Fleur de Sel
2oz dark chocolate

Method
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place nuts and seeds on a baking tray and toast until they are golden brown (about 10 minutes). Put sugar, honey, butter, creme fraiche, orange zest and ginger into a heavy saucepan over a low heat and stir until butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring from time to time. The mixture should thicken and darken slightly. Stir in the toasted nuts, seeds, flour and the fleur de sel. Place half-tablespoon-sized dollops of the mixture on baking trays lined with a slipat or non stick parchment paper. Be sure to leave plenty of room for the cookies to spread. Bake for about 8 minutes until the florentines are evenly dark and golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray to cool and harden. Melt the chocolate and then pipe drizzles over the surface of the cookies. Once cool, keep in an airtight container

Reality Notes:
Regular cream can be substituted for the creme fraiche. Golden syrup can be substituted for the honey. Experiment with your favourite nuts. Fred prefers a version where I use only flaked almonds (no orange, ginger, salt or sesame seeds). The smaller your nut pieces, the more evenly your cookies will spread, but don't go so far as crumbing the nuts, I think that might look ugly. My oven has an element on the bottom, and I find that if I try to bake these cookies on the bottom shelf they burn around the edges. Therefore I have to cook them in two batches in the centre of the oven. If you have to do the same thing, try and keep the remaining mixture warm, over a very low heat, so it doesn't harden too much. Impromptu piping bag: For super drizzling action, put your melted chocolate in a plastic bag and cut off a tiny corner to make a hole through which you can finely pipe the chocolate drizzles on to the cookie.



PS. These cookies were baked for a joint virtual cookie swap organised by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess and Alberto of Il Forno for Sugar High Friday #14 and Is My Blog Burning #21, respectively.

Archive Alert! Around this time last year, I was Baking cookies like crazy for a charitable cause. Click here to see how much money we made in November 04.

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Spiced Sesame Orange Florentines with Cashew Nuts & Fleur de Sel

15 Comments:

  • At 27/11/05 03:26, Blogger Papilles et Pupilles said…

    so good !

     
  • At 27/11/05 08:25, Blogger Jane said…

    Great recipe, thanks.

     
  • At 27/11/05 14:07, Blogger Mona said…

    Wow, those are some elegant and yummy looking cookies. Very impressive.
    Hope you're having a great holiday weekend.

     
  • At 27/11/05 15:56, Anonymous jeanne said…

    I was surprised how easy they are to make also. Last year I made florentines sandwiched with a schmear of orangewater creme. These look perfect for a spot o' tea!

     
  • At 28/11/05 03:46, Anonymous Julie said…

    Hey Sam -- I love florentines too. Last year I posted orange-almond ones for the November 2004 IMBB cookie swap. But sesame and cashew nuts...that's an incredibly original combination I'd love to try!

     
  • At 28/11/05 07:48, Blogger Sam said…

    P et P - and so easy - I hope you have a chance to try them.

    Jane - I hope you get a chance to try them out some time.

    Mona - Thanks Mona - we had a bit of a quiet holiday weekend - we were all holidayed-out after having too much holiday:) Once the money runs out there is a limit to what you can do with so much time off. But I shouldn't complain - since I have to go back to work today for the first time in 4 weeks. That will take some getting used to.

    Jeanne - I think I am going to have to go and delve in your archives for your take on it.

    Julie - I tried to look in your archives but they don't go back that far. I was inspired to try this combination by some sesame tuilles and a sesame nougatine I've eaten in restaurants this past year. The sesames have great flavour.

     
  • At 28/11/05 07:56, Blogger tara said…

    How funny, S and I were eating florentines this weekend and he sweeetly asked "hun, can you make these at home?" I guess I'm now obligated to try your version - they really are a chic interpretation!

     
  • At 28/11/05 08:09, Anonymous Melissa said…

    Yum, beautiful cookies and beautiful shot! I've never made florentines, and now I'm not exactly sure why...

     
  • At 30/11/05 06:52, Blogger Shauna said…

    Those are just gorgeous, Sam. Sigh. I wish I could have taken part in the cookie swap, but unless another food blogger had been really ingenious, I would have been sent food I couldn't eat. But at least I can look at yours!

     
  • At 30/11/05 08:25, Blogger Sam said…

    tara - go for it!
    melissa - ditto - sooner rather than later
    shauna - it wasnt a real swap, just a virtual one soeveryone could join in.
    Here are the cookies for you. (Link to almond macaroon recipe)

     
  • At 2/12/05 05:36, Blogger Nupur said…

    What an amazing combination of flavors!

     
  • At 2/12/05 09:43, Blogger s'kat said…

    Those are absolutely dreamy!

     
  • At 5/12/05 16:48, Blogger Lady Amalthea said…

    Those look so wonderfully delicious, Sam!

     
  • At 6/12/05 14:38, Anonymous johanna said…

    i love the picture... fantastic. should sell it to anna's stock library ;-) i am not too keen on florentines, since i don't like the citrus zest too much... although I might try this one, grating it very finely (i don't mind the taste, just not keen on the texture, funnily enough)

     
  • At 6/12/05 19:14, Blogger Sam said…

    johanna - just leave the zest out - its not necessary. Fred didn't like the orange element (he detests orange in desserts) so next time I am going to make them without.

     

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