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Sunday Magazine Recipe: florentine cookies

These florentines are so moreish, you'll be tempted to eat them all – so it's good to give them away before that happens. I like to create little parcels using baking paper and ribbon for Christmas gifts. You could even attach a name tag and use them as place holders for your Christmas lunch or dinner.

FLORENTINE COOKIES
Makes 10 cookies 

25g butter
70g soft brown sugar
4 teaspoons plain flour
60g mascarpone
50g flaked almonds
15g sunflower seeds
15g pumpkin seeds
20g dried cherries, finely chopped 
20g candied orange peel, finely chopped
20g candied ginger, finely chopped
100g 70% dark chocolate 
generous pinch sea salt 

Moreish florentines are perfect treats for you, as well as great gifts friends and family.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan bake and generously grease 10 holes of a silicon muffin tray.

In a small saucepan over a low heat, combine butter, sugar and flour. Using a whisk, mix until sugar has dissolved, then whisk in mascarpone. Take off heat and stir in almonds, seeds, cherries, peel and ginger. While mixture is still warm and malleable, use a teaspoon to divide evenly between each hole. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow cookies to set before baking.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. Once baked, cool at room temperature for 5 minutes then put muffin tray in fridge for another 10 minutes. This will help the cookies solidify, but not so much that you can't get them out of the muffin tray (they should still be a little soft). Once cool, put cookies onto a rack to set completely.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then using a spoon or fork, drizzle over florentines. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with sea salt. Blot cookies on a paper towel to remove any excess butter.

To wrap, cut out squares of baking paper (about 30cm x 30cm) and wrap up 3 or 4 cookies. Pull up corners and using ribbon, tie a bow to enclose the cookies in a little parcel. If kept in an airtight container, these florentines will last up to 2 weeks.

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This recipe was originally published in the Sunday Star Times.

Photography: Emma Boyd