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Almond Florentines

Almond Florentines
Serve these crisp, elegant cookies after a special-occasion dinner. Pass with cups of freshly brewed coffee or espresso.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. grated orange zest
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 4 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Line 2 large, heavy baking sheets with aluminum foil. Lightly butter the foil.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, just until the sugars dissolve and the butter melts. Add the almonds, flour and orange and lemon zests. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

Drop 1 rounded tsp. batter (batter will be runny) onto a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with more batter, spacing the cookies at least 2 inches apart. Repeat with the second baking sheet.

Bake until deep brown, about 8 minutes, switching the pans and rotating a half turn halfway through baking. Remove from the oven. Slide the foil off each sheet with the cookies in place. Line the same sheets with new foil, butter the foil and repeat with the remaining batter.

While all 4 sheets of cookies are cooling completely on their pieces of foil, line the baking sheets with new foil. Carefully peel the cookies off the foil and arrange them, smooth side up, on the newly covered baking sheets.

In the top pan of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl, combine the semisweet and unsweetened chocolates. Place over but not touching simmering water in the bottom pan and heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Using an icing spatula or a knife, spread the chocolate over the flat side of each cookie and return them, chocolate side up, to the baking sheets. Refrigerate, uncovered, until the chocolate sets. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, After Dinner, by Kristine Kidd (Time-Life Books, 1998).