For this month’s Suma Blogger’s Network entry, I though I’d share one of my latest treat obsessions – Vegan Florentines ♥
I’ve been dreaming about Florentines ever since I saw them on display in the patisserie shops of Venice and Florence a few years ago. I’d never seen anything quite like them before. They looked so dainty yet totally decadent with their dark chocolate bottoms! I was pretty sure that they’d be full of dairy and off limits to me, but I was excited about the thought of creating a vegan version one day.
This week I finally got round to a little Florentine experimentation in the kitchen.
After a quick internet search, I discovered that Florentines are typically made with cane sugar, honey, butter, candied cherries, candied citrus peel and almonds. Since I’m not a fan of the first 4 ingredients, and I know a lot of my readers aren’t keen on candied peel, I ended up subbing 5 of the 6 ingredients. The almonds stayed 😉
The cane sugar and honey was swapped for coconut sugar and maple syrup, which gave the Florentines a wonderful golden hue and caramel-like sweetness. Instead of candied cherries and citrus peel, I used dried cranberries and orange zest. This gave the Florentines a fresh, citrussy flavour which I absolutely loved. The butter was exchanged for non dairy spread or organic aroma-free coconut butter.
I’ve done 6 trials so far this week, playing around with different ingredient ratios and combos. All have tasted delicious, but I was striving to bake a Florentine that was super thin with the traditional ‘lacey’ texture on the underside. By the 4th trial, I’d cracked it.
Once cooled, I then added the classic Florentine wavy chocolate bottom.
These Florentines are my new treat obsession. I absolutely love their texture – crisp on the outside, chewy in the centre with a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate bottom. Plus the flavour combination is so lush. The citrus zest gives them a wonderful lift while the dark chocolate makes them feel decadent.
Another great thing about this biscuit is that each one only contains 1 tsp of mixture which, in my eyes, makes it totally acceptable to go back for a second or third 🙂
‘M’ and Lil’ L seem to love them as much as me. I’ve made 72 so far this week, and there are very few left in the biscuit tin! I also took along a sample to my Tuesday night study class and they were a big hit!
If possible, I recommend weighing the ingredients rather than using tablespoons as it’s more precise. I find that the shape and ‘lacieness’ of the Florentines varies depending on the size of the fruit and nut pieces, and the type of flour or fat used. Regardless of their shape, all are totally delicious!
Hands-on time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 8 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes
27g / 1 oz / 3 rounded TBSP flaked almonds
27g / 1 oz / 3 TBSP dried cranberries
Zest of ½ unwaxed / organic orange
27g / 1 oz / 2 TBSP dairy-free spread or organic aroma-free coconut butter
27g / 1 oz / 3 TBSP coconut sugar
27g / 1 oz / 1½ TBSP maple syrup
18g / ⅔ oz / 2 TBSP fine wholemeal (whole wheat), chapatti or gluten-free flour mix
80g / 3 oz dark chocolate or ½ cup dark choc chips
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) / 350F. Line two large baking sheets with non stick baking paper.
Place the almonds in a frying pan (skillet) and dry fry for a few minutes, stirring regularly. As soon as they start to brown and become fragrant, tip them onto a plate and leave to cool. Once cool, finely chop the nuts or scrunch them in your hands to break them up.
Finely chop the cranberries. Zest the orange.
In a small pan, gently heat the non dairy spread / coconut butter. Once it has melted, whisk in the sugar and syrup. Remove from the heat and whisk in the flour until fully incorporated. Stir in the nuts and fruits. You want to get the mixture as uniform as possible so that the Florentines spread evenly as they bake.
Drop six rounded teaspoons of mixture onto one baking sheet. Be sure to space them out well to give them room to spread. Add another six teaspoons to the second baking sheet. Using damp fingers, press down on the Florentines to flatten slightly and shape into circles.
Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 8 minutes, or until the edges of the Florentines have browned. Leave to cool. (They will be very soft when they come out the oven, but they firm up as they cool).
Once the Florentines are completely cool, prepare the chocolate coating. Place the chocolate pieces in a heat proof bowl set over a pan with an inch or so of water (make sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl). Gently heat the water and stir the chocolate until it has fully melted. Remove from the heat. If the chocolate is very runny, keep stirring it until it has thickened slightly. Using a knife, coat the bottom of each Florentine with chocolate, then wiggle a fork along the chocolate to form a wavy pattern. Leave the chocolate to set.
The Florentines will keep for a week or so in an airtight container. In warm houses, it’s best to store them in the fridge. They also freeze really well so it’s worth making a double batch and freezing some. That way, you’ll have a stash ready for coffee mornings, surprise visitors or whenever a sweet craving strikes.
Unwaxed Citrus Fruits
Unwaxed lemons are widely available, but unwaxed oranges are a little harder to come by. In the UK, they are currently available in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco. If you’re only able to find waxed oranges, you’ll find tips online on how to remove the wax. The wax on citrus fruits often contains shellac (from the lac beetle) or beeswax, making them unsuitable for vegans. Organic citrus fruits are unwaxed, which makes them vegan friendly 🙂
You’ll find Suma products available to purchase in UK independent health food shops. You can also bulk buy many of their products from Amazon.
19 thoughts on “Cranberry, Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines. Dairy-free. Vegan”
Oh Sharon! I’m pinning these to try, they look magnificent!
Oh Vicky these are so tasty! Definitely my number one treat at the mo 😀
I’m looking forward to trying new flavours over the next few weeks, starting with crystallised ginger. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making crystallised ginger using coconut sugar. I’m excited to see how it turns out xx
These look amazing Sharon, really delish. My mum used to love Florentines, I’m tempted to make some on her birthday in March to remember her 🙂
Pity I’ve just used up all of my cranberries today; neat swap for the cherries though.
That would be such a lovely tribute to your dear mum ♥ Don’t worry about not have cranberries, you can sub with any dried fruits you have on hand. Dried apricots is another favourite of mine xx
Wow 🙂 I used to adore Florentines, so I’ll definitely be making these! Love the ingredient subs you have made too. I’m thinking maybe some of my home made marmalade would be great instead of the peel too. Thanks for all your hard work experimenting and tasting!
That’s amazing that you make your own marmalade! My mum always makes her own and it’s so much nicer than the shop bought jars. Rather than snaffling her jars every time I visit, I really should watch her make it one time and learn the family recipe xx
These look absolutely gorgeous!
Thanks Lauren! They’re so tasty! I’ve already gone through my freezer stash so I’m going to have to make more to share with my mum on Mother’s Day 🙂
hehe that’s a lot of florentines to make in a week!
They look so pretty too! Going to make these to pop into my daughter’s lunchbox I think 🙂 She would totally LOVE them!
It was a lot of florentines… but they’ve all gone!!! I’ve even eaten the freezer stash. They’re just too tasty! 😛 I hope your daughter loves them as much as I do 😀
I just can’t believe how good these look, and how much they look like regular Florentines- despite your subbing out so many ingredients. Thank you for this yummy recipe!!
It’s a pleasure Koko ♥ It seems like anything can be ‘veganised’ these days 🙂 Cruelty-free goodies are the best!
Wow Sharon, you have totally improved on the original recipe! I admire so much your dedication to getting your recipes just right. I’d be too scared to make these, i’d eat the whole batch 🙂 You put your Suma goodies to most excellent use! We are all impressed xx and well done on your half marathon btw, you deserve another florentine after that
Thanks Amy! The Bath half training was made all the sweeter when I had these yummy treats to come home to 🙂 I’m looking forward to making another batch to share with my mum this weekend. All mums deserve florentines on Mother’s Day (that includes you! ♥)
Yum! These are so delish-but sadly mine didn’t spread at all. Any thoughts as to why this might be?
Hi Kat! I’m pleased you liked to flavour, but sorry to hear they didn’t spread for you. I’m planning on making some more batches this weekend for a birthday celebration so I’ll play around with the recipe and see what might stop them from spreading. I’ll be in touch again as soon as I have an answer xx
Just realised the reason … I used almond flour … What a dafty! They are still crispy, chewy amazing though so thanks for the great recipe!