Sunday, December 19, 2010


This year I'm going to my brother's place in Auckland for Christmas. We're doing Christmas day at his house, then we're packing up the kids and the dog and the boat and our parents' ashes, and going to Tarawera and Taupo for a holiday. While we're there we're going to tip Mum and Dad over the side of the boat into Lake Taupo. Mum always intended to do this with Dad's ashes, but didn't get around to it before the Alzheimer's struck, so we decided to save him up and do them both at once. Mum died this year, and Christmas seemed like a good time to do it.

I'm heading on up there late on Christmas Eve, so I thought I'd better do a bit of baking to contribute to the festivities. Stuff that keeps - I don't want to be fussing around in the kitchen the day I leave.

I've made this recipe before, and it's a goodie. It's in The Chocolate Cookbook, by Christine France.

You start off mixing 120ml of cream (I used milk, I didn't have any cream - it worked fine), 50g butter, 50g sugar and 30 ml honey …

… in a pot, and heat it, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Then you bring it to the boil and add in 150g flaked almonds, 50g chopped candied peel, 75g chopped candied ginger …

40g flour, and 1/2 tsp ground ginger.

You mix it well …

… then drop teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet, flattening them out as much as possible …

… and bake them in a 180°C oven until they're browned and bubbly but not burnt. About 10 minutes. If they're not cooked enough they'll be soft, but you can put them back in the oven if this happens.

I stirred some dried cranberries into half of my mixture:

Because things like cranberries don't soak up moisture, you can add extra bits and pieces within reason - the biscuit mix does have to cover everything to stick it all together.

Once the biscuits are baked and cool, you need to cover their backs with melted chocolate. I discovered the easiest way to do this is to put the chocolate in a plastic bag …

… then microwave it gently, taking it out and squishing it around often, until it's just melted. Then you can cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe the chocolate onto the biscuit, using the bag to spread it around:

I used a lot less chocolate doing it this way than I have before, and the cleaning up is a breeze - just throw the bag away.

One tin of Florentines waiting to go into my bag:


Florentines (from The Chocolate Cookbook)

120ml cream (I used milk)
50g butter
50g granulated sugar
30ml honey
150g flaked almonds
40g plain flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
50g diced candied peel
75g diced stem ginger
50g plain chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I omitted this)
150g bittersweet chocolate, chopped ditto
150g white chocolate, chopped ditto too. (I only used the dark stuff)

Preheat oven to 180°C, grease to large baking sheets (I used silicone mats)
Melt the butter, honey, and cream together over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat and stir in everything else except the bittersweet and white chocolate.
Drop teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking sheets a good distance apart. Spread each round as thinly as possible with the back of the spoon.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the biscuits are bubbling. They burn easily, so be careful. Bake all the biscuits in batches.
Allow the biscuits to cool on the baking sheet until they're firm enough to move. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Melt the bittersweet chocolate, and spread over the bottoms of half of the biscuits. Leave to set on a wire rack, chocolate side up.
Repeat with the white chocolate on the remaining biscuits.

No comments:

Post a Comment