Also, called Florentines, (they originally came from Florence, Italy) these cookies are a Tuscan Christmas classic. Because they contain no flour, they are really more confection-like than cookie. They are crisp, wafer-thin and as delicate looking as a snowflake … or Venetian lace.
The three versions in the picture use the same cookie batter, the only difference is the cooking time and the chocolate. The cookies with the traditional smear of chocolate are on the right. The darker cookies on the left were baked the recommended time, however, I chose to forgo the chocolate so you could see the lacy effect (I actually prefer these). The middle cookies were taken out of the oven a minute or two early.
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon mixed European candied peel (orange, lemon, citron)
- 1 tablespoon candied ginger
- 5 candied cherries
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
- Using a food processor, combine the nuts, raisins, candied peel, ginger and cherries. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the cream.
- In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the butter, then stir in the sugar.
- Bring the mixture to a a boil. Without stirring, (we don’t want it to crystallize) gently boil for one minute, remove from heat. Mixture will have thickened and turned a light golden color. Add to the fruit and nut mixture, stirring well.
- Using a teaspoon, drop batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets. The cookies will spread into beautiful lacy mosaics as they bake. I put 6 heaping teaspoons on a sheet and they spread into 4-inch cookies. This recipe made 18.
- Bake in a 350* oven 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oven. Using a spatula, around the edges, push each into a round shape (if you would like them to be of the same size for plating).
- Let cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two. Gently, lift each Venetian lace with a spatula, transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Once they have firmed up, smear a teaspoon of melted chocolate on the flat side, (spreading out to the edge) covering the bottom of each. Place on a tray (chocolate side up) and refrigerate until chocolate has hardened. Store in airtight container with squares of parchment paper between each.