These are based on an old recipe my mum used to make many, many years ago. I love florentines so it was rather frustrating when the recipe disappeared for a decade, during which time I tried other variations. But none of them had the same buttery crunchiness, not even saint Delia's.
If you'd rather return to the old standard, replace the sour cherries with a 50/50 combination of finely chopped glacé cherries and apricots. I find the sharpness of the sour cherries works to balance out the rich nuts and chocolate, but there's a guilty pleasure to be had in those sticky glacé cherries too.
A dozen of these delicate thins piled up in a ribboned Weck jar made a handsome birthday gift for a friend this weekend, which made me think... I know that Christmas is another nine months away, but I'm adding these to my edible giftlist for 2012.
SOUR CHERRY AND HAZELNUT FLORENTINES
Makes 35 small biscuits
75g flaked almonds, crushed
25g finely chopped, blanched hazelnuts
75g finely chopped sour cherries
100g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
100g dark chocolate
25g white chocolate
1) Place the almonds, hazelnuts and cherries into a large bowl and toss together to combine.
2) Melt the butter in a small pan then add the sugar and salt, and stir until it comes to the boil. Allow to bubble for one minute whilst stirring vigorously. Take care with the mixture - remember it contains extremely hot sugar! Pour over the fruit and nuts and stir in well.
3) Spoon slightly heaped teaspoons (the measuring kind, not the kind you use to stir your tea with) of the mixture onto two silicone baking sheets, leaving 5cm around each to allow for the biscuits to spread as they cook. Bake at 350f/180c/gas mark 4 for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
4) As soon as you remove them from the oven, use a knife to shape each biscuit into a neat round, about 6cm in diameter, then allow to cool until firm enough to lift onto a wire cooling rack.
5) Melt the two chocolates in separate bowls over bains marie. Use the back of a spoon to use the dark chocolate to 'paint' the flat side of each biscuit, and allow to cool. Once firm, use a piping bag with a 1mm hole cut at the end to drizzle the white chocolate in lines over the biscuits. Leave to cool again before storing.