These lacy cookies may appear difficult to make, but they are actually very quick and easy, with plenty of orange zest to balance out the buttery caramel-nut flavors. Simply bring sugar, butter, and a few other ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, mix with almonds and flour, and drop spoonfuls of the batter onto a baking sheet. No creaming the butter; no need for a stand mixer, rolling pin, or cookie cutters. Try dipping in our Sabayon recipe, another Italian classic dessert.
Game plan: Don’t store the florentines in a container with other cookies, because the moisture from the other cookies will cause the florentines to lose their crispness.
This recipe was featured as part of our Crazy-Easy Christmas Cookies.
- Yield: About 36 cookies
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 50 mins, plus cooling time
- Active: 40 mins
- 1 1/4 cups sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (from 2 medium oranges)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into 4 pieces
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Place the almonds, flour, and zest in a medium bowl and toss with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to combine; set aside.
- Place the sugar, butter, corn syrup, cream, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the almond mixture, and stir to combine.
- Drop heaping teaspoons of the batter at least 3 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets, 6 per sheet. Using a rubber spatula, pat the batter out into 2-inch-wide circles, spreading the almonds into an even single layer.
- Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom and bake until the florentines are light golden brown around the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven to wire racks and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Carefully remove the florentines from the baking sheets with a thin metal spatula, transfer to the wire racks, and cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter—you can reuse the baking sheets and parchment while still warm. Reserve the parchment sheets for drizzling the chocolate over the cooled cookies, if using.
- Place the cooled cookies on the reserved parchment sheets. Melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in short increments to avoid burning the chocolate.) Dip a fork into the chocolate and drizzle it over the florentines in a zigzag pattern. Let the cookies sit until the chocolate has set, about 30 minutes. Store the florentines in an airtight container for up to 5 days.