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chocolate-dipped florentines

Living in Paris, it isn’t always very interesting watching television, which I sometimes like to do during dinner. Sure there’s some great French channels, but I’m kinda lazy when I’m eating and prefer the English-language ones, which usually means CNN International.

So I often find myself flipping through cookbooks while I dine, glazing over the text and scanning the glossy photos. But when I came across this one, for Florentines, I stopped and bookmarked it right away. I’m always attracted to anything nutty, crispy, salty, or caramelized, and this recipe had them all. Of course, using ingredients that I usually have on hand doesn’t hurt a recipe in the popularity department around here, either.

sliced almondspowdered sugar

Crisp, caramelized almonds, just a few ingredients, and a wide swath of dark chocolate underneath. I ask you…what doesn’t this recipe have going for it? The recipe comes from Ottolenghi, a London-based restaurant that, frankly, I hadn’t heard of. But this cookbook is really gorgeous and makes me almost want to blitz across the channel and check it out. (Damn the exchange rate!) I have a lot of cookbooks and this one truly stands out. And when I saw the jumbo stack of Florentines stacked up on one of its pages, I couldn’t wait to share the recipe.

The book is full of other interesting, and compelling recipes. There’s one for Kosheri, a side dish made with lentils, rice, and vermicelli, that I’m dying to try. There’s a twice-baked Chocolate Fudge Cake that’s up the next time I have guests for dinner.

pre-baked Florentines

These crispy Florentines are super-simple to make, requiring just a few ingredients mixed together and baked. Who doesn’t love that? The authors mentioned that it’d be permissible to slather one side with melted chocolate, like traditional Florentines. The cookies were indeed fantastic without it—but it’d be a shame to pass up an opportunity to put chocolate on something now, wouldn’t it?


Chocolate-Dipped Florentines

Adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (Ten Speed) I cut the original recipe in half since I wanted smaller cookies, but otherwise followed the recipe pretty closely. I added a few grains of salt, but thought I knew better and tried using a small metal spatula to spread the Florentines. But their suggested fork method worked better. You can put the cookies pretty close to each other on the baking sheet as they don’t spread during baking.
Servings 20 cookies
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (50g) powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup (130g) blanched sliced almonds
  • a good pinch of flaky sea salt
  • grated zest of half an orange*, preferably unsprayed
  • Preheat the oven to 300F (150C).
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush very lightly with neutral vegetable oil.
  • In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
  • Keep a small bowl of cold water and a fork near where you’re working.
  • Dip your hand in the cold water before lifting each portion of almonds, and place heaping tablespoon-sized mounds of the batter evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Once you’ve covered the baking sheet, dip the fork in cold water to flatten the cookies as much as possible. Try to avoid having many gaps between the almonds.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown. Exact time will vary based on how large your cookies are. The authors recommend lifting the bottom of one with a metal spatula to check and see if they’re cooked through. If they’re not brown across the top and bottom, they won’t be agreeably crispy.
  • Let cookies cool, then lift with a thin metal spatula and place them on a cooling rack until crisp. Continue baking all the cookies on the same baking sheet. (I found no need to re-oil it between uses.)


Store Florentines in an airtight container until ready to serve.
To Coat the Cookies with Chocolate
To coat one side with chocolate, melt a few ounces of chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate in a clean, dry bowl, stirring until smooth. Use a brush or metal spatula to coat the underside of each cookie with a thin layer of chocolate. Let cool in a cool place or the refrigerator until firm. Once firm, store Florentines in an airtight container at room temperature.

More Recipe Notes:

  • You can temper the chocolate if you’re not going to eat them within a relatively short period of time, if you want to avoid the chocolate ‘blooming’. Or just dip and cool them a few hours before serving time.
  • *I didn’t have any orange zest so added a few drops of orange oil, which worked perfectly.
  • When Twittering, I realized that these cookies are gluten-free.
  • Heidi did a beautiful post with photographs featuring Ottolenghi’s Red Rice and Quinoa Recipe.
  • Visit the Ottolenghi website for more recipes and information about the restaurant.
  • I’d planned to test baking the Florentines using my silicone baking mat, but had such good success with parchment paper I didn’t want to take any chances. If you do try it, let me know how they come out.


    • chanelle

    “Let cool in a cool place or the refrigerator until firm. Once firm, store Florentines in an airtight container at room temperature.”
    um, i’m sorry, i don’t think i can wait that long. YUM.

    • flavia

    This recipe is a lot easier than the one I was thought when I took Pierre Herme’s class at the Ecole Ferrandi in february. The ingredient list has 11 items, including “nougat sec” and a very unexpected “creme fleurette”. But I have to admit it is very very good ! But since I am always looking to simplify (and I trust you !) I’ll give this one a try soon enough!

    • David

    Chanelle: I couldn’t wait either, and I’ve got the photo to prove it!

    Flavia: This isn’t really a traditional Florentine, but I don’t think anyone’s gonna complain. When I served them, no one did. At all.

    • Aimee

    Those look amazing! Two of my favorite things. Must try this recipe.

    • EB

    the chocolate is so dark! those look fantastic!!

    • Julie

    The nutty-crunch factor gets me every time, especially when paired with dark chocolate. I’d love to see the kosheri recipe too — my ex was Egyptian, and often bemoaned the lack of kosheri in NYC. Definitely want to try it. And as for the twice-baked fudge cake, well, twist my arm, I guess I’ll give it a shot.

    • irvinemom

    The book is out of stock at Amazon! I can’t wait to try these.

    • Emily

    Ah yes, Ottolenghi. Their passionfruit meringue tart induced a When Harry Met Sally type moment in a friend of mine (…”I’ll have what she’s having”). Almost worth a channel crossing for. If the book has that recipe, I will definitely get it.

    • elarael

    The florentines do look the best ones I’ve ever seen, but I have to say that the smile on Mr. Quest is simply hilarious. Disgraceful, but hilarious. He certainly has b*lls to smile like that, considering the circumstances. Too bad about the meth though. It’s weird how America prefers it’s public personalities to be so amped up – like Rachel Ray, and all those other ones who just can’t handle their caffiene. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have TV. I just can not handle all that fake, drugged up enthusiasm. But a sugar rush, now, that’s another thing!

    • Fatemeh

    No flour? No baking soda or baking powder? No 1/8th teaspoon measurements?

    Now this, THIS, is a cookie recipe I can follow!

    • Sue

    OMG, you’re killing me! I LOVE almonds almost as much as I love chocolate. I eat them all day long. I drive an hour to buy Trader Joe’s toasted almonds and keep bags of them in my desk. So, now this weekend I will make your chocolate ice cream and these Florentines!
    Then I’ll have to go for a 100 mile bike ride to keep my backside in control.


    • Ann

    UP WITH PEOPLE, omg! I have not heard those three words for years, even possibly decades! I think my parents may have taken me to see them when I was a child, and honestly, it gives me the willies thinking of it now. What a great blast from the past though. Hope it doesn’t bring nightmares of overly happy, creepy people. :)

    • Jesse Gardner

    This looks delicious.

    • Mireille

    Another cookbook to add to my list. At least they have a chocolate cake recipe.

    • Hillary

    Adding chocolate was the key ingredient for me.

    • Eva

    I’m so glad I checked back today and saw this recipe! Thanks David.

    And thanks for the link to the Post – I cant bring myself to buy it and missed this. Am I the only one who thought “boot” was a euphemism???

    • fanny

    oh David, you know how much I love florentins (do you?). and since your recipe looks totally delicious -I mean, almonds. and caramel- you can be certain I’ll try to squiz it in my over-busy baking schedules.

    xx fanny

    • Jill

    David, they work fine with a silicone baking sheet. I’ve made these three times now. You’re right, the fork method is better. Why didn’t I trust you not trusting the cookbook???

    • Jackie

    Thank you so much for this recipe! Been looking for this for so long. Will definitely try this. Yours look so good & delicious… YUMMY!!! How I wish I have almond slices now.

    • fiona

    Ah yes, Ottolenghi is pretty famous amongst the London foodies – I live just around the corner from the Notting Hill branch (there’s another in Islington) and have never managed to walk past without a purchase. The chef, Yottam, writes a really lovely recipe column for The Guardian newspaper as well.

    • Mihtjel

    A pure newbie question, prompted by the quite large price difference between whole almonds and sliced ones: Are almonds easy to slice, and how would one go about doing it? It doesn’t seem like something that is easily achieved using a regular knife…

    • Sunshinemom

    I saw that picture of Mr. Quest! Weird is a tame word – it was disgusting:) Thanks for not putting it here!

    • Lauren

    David, I have made that Ottolenghi twice-baked chocolate fudge cake, and it was frankly amazing. It is ridiculously squidgy and truffle-y without being too “uncooked” and I recommend that you bring it to the top of your To Do list, if you haven’t already!

    As Fiona says, Ottolenghi’s London restaurants are very popular – they do lovely breakfast/brunches and their meringues are incredible. They have the latter piled up in the windows, along with every kind of pastry, brownie and cake, so just walking past can turn you into a drooling mess…

    • Kate at the Paris Post blog

    These will be perfect to make for my mother who is just now returning from Florence! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Steve

    PERFECT for passover, as it happens!

    • Rachelle

    Hi David
    I was passing by looking for an almond butter crunch recipe and stumbled on this version of my childhood delights, Florentines. A Florentine must have glaced fruit, preferably at least one red glace cherry, green and orange rind and chopped hazel nuts.They are tiny islands of chewy fruit, nut cookie candies and I’ve talked myself into hunting down some edible supplies of glaced fruit to make these.
    I’ve also seen versions made with oat flakes to stand in for the almond flakes!

    • Barbara

    The Black Forest Bakery in Dallas sells a flourless chocolate-dipped almond cookie very similar to this one. I think they use honey instead of powdered sugar, but the result is delicious. I found your website while trying to find a recipe for just such a cookie. Thanks for sharing. i can’t wait to make a batch.

    • Sniper

    David, they work fine with a silicone baking sheet. I’ve made these three times now. You’re right, the fork method is better. Why didn’t I trust you not trusting the cookbook???

    • Steph Stargell

    I have loved these cookies for so long. I had the recipe about 20 years ago and lost it during a move. Only one shop in Seattle has them (that I know of). All other recipes I found included candied fruit (think fruitcake). So happy to have the recipe again!


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