Thursday, December 27, 2012

Florentine Cookies

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I'm going to be honest: I had grand plans of posting tons and tons of amazing cookie recipes throughout the month of December leading up to Christmas.

But if my eyes aren't deceiving me, the calendar says that it's the 27th... a mere 4 days away from the New Year. And while I've been able to share a few recipes here and there, it didn't quite work out as I had anticipated.

Does that ever happen to you? You look forward to something so much, and then when it's over you realize it didn't go at all like you had planned.

Sometimes things happen that kind of dash your plans to bits: Changes in a work schedule. Life events that take priority over being in the kitchen and blogging. Surgery. Recovery.

And so, plans change.

We are forced learn to be flexible, even those of us who are quite rigid most of the time. We learn that our "plans" are more of a rough draft than a strict itinerary. We take it day by day and do what we can, when time allows. And we learn to be content with that.

Or at least, that's been the case with me personally as this year comes to a close and we look to the possibilities and experiences that lie ahead in the New Year.

With that said, I'd like to share a great cookie recipe with you, even though Christmas has come and gone for this year. {Because heaven knows you don't need it to be Christmas to make cookies.} This was a cookie that I brought to an Italian Potluck party at a friend's house earlier in the month. Everyone that tried these cookies raved about them... one person told me it was the best cookie she ever had, which is quite a compliment in my book!

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As it turns out, these are the perfect cookie to share for today's post, because they sort of represent what I was trying to explain earlier. They start out a bit hard and rigid... kind of rough and difficult to work with. You watch them in the oven and think, "These aren't going to turn out." But sure enough, they eventually soften and relax. They let the heat wash over them and mold them into their new form.

They stop trying to hold together and just let you see right through.
 
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And when they do, they turn out to be one of the prettiest things you've ever seen.

So, as we wrap up 2012, I'll be working on finding the balance between planning and experiencing, scheduling and anticipating. It's a challenge I feel grateful to take on because it means that I'm learning, growing, and getting a chance to continue to work on it all.

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Perhaps my mantra this year will be, "Be the Florentine!".  :)

How are you "preparing" for 2013?


Florentine Cookies
 Adapted from Food Network

1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds (about 5 ounces)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated {alternatively you can use about 1/4 tsp orange extract, but the taste won't be quite as strong}
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
Optional Topping:
 
1/4 to 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
*For a runnier drizzling consistency, add about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
 
2. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the almonds until finely ground but watch to make sure they do not start turning into almond butter. Combine ground almonds, flour, orange zest, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
 
3. In a small saucepan, melt sugar, cream, corn syrup, and butter over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, then cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat, add vanilla, then stir and pour into almond mixture and mix until just combined. Set aside to cool, about 15-20 minutes.
 
4. Using a teaspoon measure {will yield 3 inch cookies} sprayed with a little non-stick cooking spray for easy removal, scoop a teaspoon of mixture and roll into a ball. Place 3 to 4 inches from each other on baking sheet {they will spread a lot}.
 
*Note: If, after a while, your mixture has hardened and it hard to scoop, heat in the microwave on high for 30 second intervals until it reaches a softened state once again.
 
5. Bake cookies for 10 to 11 minutes until they are thin and lacy with an even golden color. Be careful not to over bake.
 
6. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool slightly on baking sheet before gently removing them with a spatula and transferring to a baking rack.
 
Optional:
 
Lightly drizzle cookies with melted chocolate and in refrigerator for 15 minutes or until set.
 

2 comments:

JulieD said...

That always happens to me too!! So I try to focus on one or two new cookie recipes and try not to do five million recipes...hope you had a nice Christmas!! These look fantastic btw!

Dianna M. said...

@ Julie - That is the best approach! We can do anything, but we can't do EVERYTHING. ;) Our Christmas was wonderful, I hope yours was as well. Hope to get up to Orlando in the New Year & catch up with you! :)

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