I have spent a lovely afternoon pottering around my kitchen. It is at this time of year that I usually start planning what Christmas presents that I am going to make. In the past I have made miniature Christmas pudding truffles, various chutneys, summer fruit vodka and, of course, Christmas cakes.
I have had my “Christmas head” on for a few weeks already. as I will be teaching my night school sugarcraft class how to marzipan, ice and decorate a fruit cake for Christmas. I have come up with four different designs for my students to learn. Obviously I will be demonstrating to my students so that will take care of a few presents!
My personal favourite to make is chutney. I made a gorgeous chutney last year which was literally Christmas on a spoon. It smelt like Christmas and tasted like it. Absolutely gorgeous! I was planning on making some more this year but I currently have a 15 year old begging me not to make any chutney at all! Ben simply cannot stand the smell of it cooking! I have even tried in the past to make it during the day whilst he is at school with all the doors and windows wide open. Even that didn’t work! He opened the front door and literally wretched from the residual smell. He is such a wimp!
So this year I thought I might try my hand at something new hence the pottering in the kitchen. Being a scientist I do like to experiment a bit and as all scientists will tell you not every experiment is a success. A couple of things went straight into the bin but I have had a couple of successes today too. I have to say my florentines are gorgeous and ridiculusly easy to make! They also contain my favourite ingredient, conny onny milk!
Florentines that you buy in the shops simply do not compare to these! They are crispy on the outside with a lovely chewy centre and a backing of rich dark chocolate that cuts through the sweetness of the condensed milk. The ones I have made today are really simple; almonds, cherries and raisins but you could add allsorts instead. I quite fancy using different coloured glace cherries or maybe dried cranberries and toasted cocnut. It is entirely down to individual taste.
Similarly you can alter the chocolate backing. I used dark chocolate because that is my favourite but you could just as easily use milk or even white chocolate. In fact a selection of florentine with different chocolate backings in a fancy box would make a really special Christmas gift.
25g light brown sugar
100 g condensed milk
150g almonds and dried fruits
chocolate of your choice, melted
- Preheat oven to 180 °C / 160°C fan.
- Melt the sugar, butter and condensed milk together in a saucepan and heat until the mixture just starts to bubble.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix well togteher.
- Onto a parchment paper lined baking tray drop teaspoons of mixture. Don’t be too generous with the mixture as they spread. Leave plenty of room between each.
- Bake until the outside edges of each florentine are golden brown, 6-12 minutes depending on the size of your florentine.
- Leave to cool completely on the tray then peel away from the parchment paper.
- Dip the backs of the florentins into your chosen chocolate. allow the chocolate to set.
- DIY Sweetened Condensed Milk [DIY] (lifehacker.com)
- Spiced Cranberry-Apple Chutney (chezdarrenandrew.com)