Sweet Orange Florentines

Posted on 06/25/2012 by layers_of_eli
I really, really want you to make these. These are the best cookies I've ever tasted, seriously!

And I know you're going to see the anise extract in the recipe and say, "Ew, licorice," but DON'T BE LIKE THAT. I actually HATE licorice flavor, but the anise extract here is just enough to give an amazing depth to the orange, not enough to make the cookies licoricey. I promise.

These cookies are so different than drop cookies and were therefore a fun new experience for me. Make sure you only use a teaspoon of mixture for each cookie even if it looks tiny, because they spread out into the beautiful lace you see below.

By the way, in terms of finding anise extract, I found mine at Super Wal-Mart in the grocery section, but some grocery stores also sell it over by the vanilla extract. I wouldn't leave it out.

Sweet Orange Florentines

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking
Yield: about 15 sandwich cookies

These are the best cookies I've ever tasted, seriously! Don't be afraid of the anise extract -- I hate licorice flavor, but the anise extract here is just enough to give an amazing depth to the orange flavor, not enough to make the cookies licoricey. These cookies are so different than drop cookies -- make sure you only use a teaspoon of mixture for each cookie even if it looks tiny, because they spread out into the beautiful lace you see above. They're easy and a lot of fun to bake!

1/2 cup sliced almonds
3/8 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
About 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from about 1/2 orange)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon anise extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds and macadamia nuts together until finely chopped without letting them form a paste. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, orange zest, salt, and finely chopped nuts.

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, cream, honey, and butter to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue cooking the mixture for about a minute before removing it from the heat and adding the vanilla extract and anise extract. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture until it's combined and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Once the mixture is cool enough to touch, use a teaspoon measure to scoop up 1 teaspoon of batter at a time and roll them into balls. Place these balls on your prepared baking sheets at least 4 inches apart -- don't skimp on this distance, because the cookies will spread a lot as they form their "lace." Flatten the balls into discs. Bake one pan of cookies at a time, rotating once halfway through the baking time, until they are thin, lacy, and golden brown, about 6-7 minutes (this is one of those cookies where you inevitably burn the first pan and then get the hang of it, so don't fret. Just keep a close eye on them). Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing them with a thin spatula to a cooling rack. Repeat until all cookies are baked.

In the meantime, melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave according to package instructions (usually half-power, in small increments, stirring often.) Carefully spread a very thin layer of white chocolate (just a whisp or they'll be too sweet) on the bottom of one cooled cookie and top it with another to form a thin sandwich. Place these on wax or parchment paper to dry (you can stick them in the refrigerator to speed up the drying process). Serve immediately or store for up to 3 days in an air-tight container with layers separated by wax paper.

To ready my goodbye letter to a sweet friend, read about why I'm terrified of drowning (okay, that sounds obvious, but there's extra background justification for my fear!), and see more photos, please head over to Willow Bird Baking!

x-posted to food_porn, cooking, picturing_food, and bakebakebake
miss_sarac 25th-Jun-2012 06:22 am (UTC)
These look so good and I love orange flavored things, but.....

I don't really want to go buy a whole bottle of anise extract for 1/4 tsp because I, too, don't like licorice. At all. And then I'd be stuck with a nearly full bottle that I know I'm never going to use.

I'm going to bookmark this and maybe make it anyway (just with a different extract) because these look amazing!
turple_purtle 25th-Jun-2012 12:07 pm (UTC)

Ditto. I don't mind a bit of anise flavor (like in Italian pizzelles), but I think a bottle of extract would go to waste in my cabinet too. Unless I stumbled across a pizzelle maker, LOL.
layers_of_eli 25th-Jun-2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
One of my friends got a pizzelle maker for a wedding present -- apparently she had sweet memories of making pizzelles with her grandmother! Now I want to try to make those with a hint of anise!
layers_of_eli 25th-Jun-2012 01:54 pm (UTC)
It was worth it for me because I figured I'd make similar Italian cookies in the future with the small amount. I wonder if you could work out a trade with someone who enjoys the flavor :) I'm getting creative...
miss_sarac 25th-Jun-2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
unfortunately I don't know anyone I could do that with, but I'm thinking almond extract (or even hazelnut) would be nice.
layers_of_eli 25th-Jun-2012 10:49 pm (UTC)
I've heard almond is a nice sub! Let me know what you try and how it goes!!
querulouspeg 25th-Jun-2012 10:29 pm (UTC)

definitely baking these at the weekend.
layers_of_eli 25th-Jun-2012 10:49 pm (UTC)
Hooray! Hope you love them :)
gensou_alice 26th-Jun-2012 02:04 am (UTC)
Thank you for the recipe! This looks delicious *^* I'll be sure to try it out, soon!
layers_of_eli 26th-Jun-2012 02:57 am (UTC)
Thank you!!! I hope you love it as much as I do!
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