Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas is definitely on! Just two more weeks until Christmas Eve! Can you believe it?! If we ever needed a time such as this, it is now. So why not throw ourselves into the traditions we have come to count on that we can... We may not be baking for as much of our family as usual, or we may be doing it in a different way, this year. But, how about sharing with those friends of yours that are also experiencing a scaled-back Christmas, at least as family goes, and do some awesome porch drop-offs of Christmas Cheer? It may seem something small to you, but it also may means the world to them. I have come to find out that a lot of people don't bake for themselves often...I must admit I am a bit surprised, but I have been baking all my life, so what do I know! Either way, sometimes a fresh-baked goodie from your kitchen is the most precious gift you can give of yourself.
When I come by something so enjoyable and so easy to share with you, I simply must! Those of you that follow me regularly know that baking is a passion of mine. As I learn new things, I look for new challenges to test my culinary skills. This time the challenge was easy! My Mother picked up some Chocolate filled Almond Lace cookies to share for Thanksgiving. They are one of my favorites! For some reason, it never occurred to me to make them myself! How silly is that?! So, I saw it as a personal challenge to learn a new skill. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this delicious little morsel of yumminess was to make, even though many people act like it's an ultimate challenge, including the Great British Bake Off! Actually, that couldn't be further from the truth. A few little techniques and they are really fairly simple and you can whip out a batch in under an hour! All the while dazzling your friends with a fun "fancy" cookie. As usual, I compared several different recipes and ended up with something in the middle of the top few, that made sense to me, the result is Heavenly and I think you will be as thrilled as I am to add this to your Christmas baking goodies. How fun will it be to share a few of these with your friends and family?! Be sure to check out my helpful hints at the bottom of this recipe.
Here's What You will need (Shocking how these few ingredients pack such a powerful and tasty punch):
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest, (I had mandarins and it works fine)
1 Tbsp milk, half and half, or cream (it really doesn't matter which, almond milk
works wonderfully here, too!)
1 tsp Vanilla (some recipes suggest 1/2 tsp of almond extract, here.
I didn't find it necessary)
2/3 cups finely chopped almonds, by this I mean in a food processor,
just short of almond flour, or you could just use almond flour.
I recommend using raw almonds and chopping them yourself, but if you can't or don't have the time, your cookies will be just as delicious
1 Tbsp flour, or another Tbsp of your almond flour almond flour. That's it!
(This is about the consistency you are looking for)
In a saucepan melt butter and sugar with orange zest and let come to a boil,
remove from heat add cream and vanilla.
Stir in almonds or almond flour, work quickly now, not rushing,
but not a time to leave the room and come back to.
Spoon a scant tsp, almost more like 2/3 tsp of the cookie batter at least 3 inches apart.
These cookies spread! So, 6-8 cookies per cookie sheet.
(Don't make my mistake and try and get too many on one sheet, look in the background of the image above, you don't want this) Although they'll taste yummy they won't look as pretty.
You can and should, if able, prepare 2-3 cookie sheets at a time.
With your oven preheated, place your first 2 pans in the oven.
Depending on your oven, these cookies will be done in 6-8 minutes.
Slide your parchment paper off, carefully to let cookies set for 3-4 minutes before
transferring them to a cooling rack with a flat offset spatula.
When you are done baking all your florentines, match up 2 cookies for size,
the closest you can, because this is not an exact science.
Melt your chocolate, whatever method you prefer, spread 1/2 tsp chocolate on the bottom side of one cookie, smooth out, and place matching cookie bottom on top of the chocolate. That is it!
Do these before you start! Preheat your oven to 350 F before you start, have 3 or 4 cookie sheets lined with a Silpat or parchment paper if you can, and ready to go, cooling rack out.