Lacy Florentine Cookies with Almonds and Chocolate

by feastonthecheap on December 19, 2011

Mariel here. With Santa arriving in less than a week, it seemed only logical to post a cookie for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. I took a stroll on over to My Danish Cooking, which chronicle’s Gitte’s endeavors to keep her Danish traditions alive while living with her husband and grown son in the US. She has some truly delightful creations on her site and it took me a long time to decide what to prepare. I landed on these Florentine Cookies since they reminded me of a favorite bakery treat of yesteryear: crispy lace cookies with a thin layer of chocolate nestled betwixt.

Swapping out only the all-purpose flour and light corn syrup, these lived up to all my expectations – and the splash of orange zest added the perfect touch. I’d make these again and again and I’d gander a guess that they’d be a welcome change-up from Santa’s usual diet of Chocolate Chip and Sugar Cookies. They feel fancy but are relatively easy to prepare, which is always a plus when I’m laying down the hammer in the kitchen, and since they’re packed with almonds, I suspect they have marginally more nutritional value than your average Yuletide treat. But let’s be honest – who cares about such things during the holidizzles? Not I nor my waistline. A very merry to you and yours!

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Lacy Florentine Cookies with Almonds and Chocolate
Makes about 12-15 sandwich cookies
Adapted from My Danish Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups slivered blanched almonds – $4.79
3 tbsp whole wheat flour – stock
Zest of 1 orange (about 2 tbsp) – $0.89
1/4 teaspoon salt – stock
3/4 cup sugar – stock
2 Tablespoons heavy cream – $1.50
2 Tablespoons honey – stock
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter – stock
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract – stock
6 oz semisweet chocolate – $3.00
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $10.18
Cost per cookie: $0.67

Directions:

1. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the almonds, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.

2. Put the sugar, cream, honey and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

3. Pour mixture into almond mixture and stir until just combined. Set aside until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.

4. In the meantime, position a rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Scoop rounded teaspoons of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheets, leaving 3 to 4 inches between each cookie since they spread – a lot.

6. Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and even golden brown color, rotating pan halfway through baking time, about 9 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. This is when the cookies really crisp up. Repeat with remaining batter.

7. Chop semisweet chocolate (or use morsels) and place in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1-inch water to a simmer and set bowl filled with chocolate over the saucepan, making sure bowl is not touching water. Stir chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth.

8. Drop a generous amount of melted chocolate (about a teaspoon) onto the flat side of a cookie and press together with a second cookie to form a sandwich. Return to rack and let chocolate set completely.