What better way to take my mind off everything going on at the moment than baking! It’s still a difficult and confusing time, although great that the Coronavirus statistics are looking better in UK (as I am writing this on 9th June 2020).
Supplies of baking ingredients, particularly flour and yeast are not always easy to come by, so I was really pleased to be able to order a massive 10kg bag of plain flour from the lovely Wessex Mill in Wantage, Oxfordshire. That should keep me going for a while!
So, today I’m going to tell you how I made Ori Hellerstein’s Florentines, from The Artisan Baker recipe book. I decided to call my version Almond and Cranberry Caramel Shortbread because it describes better what I made. I only very slightly adapted the recipe to include cranberries, because, well I like cranberries and I left out dipping them in chocolate because sadly I didn’t have any chocolate.
Method for making Almond and Cranberry Caramel Shortbread
125g icing sugar
40g ground almonds
200g caster sugar
2 tsp glucose
40g double cream
200g flaked almonds
Heat the oven to 160C fan. Line a baking tin with parchment. I used my large square baking tin which is 255mm x 255mm.
Using softened butter, mix together the butter, icing sugar and ground almonds. Add the eggs and then the flour and bring together to a smooth dough. Press into the prepared tin. Bake until slightly browned on top, about 20 mins.
Put all the topping mixture, except the almonds and cranberries, into a saucepan and boil for a few minutes, so it has thickened but not so long that it turns to caramel. Take off the heat, mix in the almonds and cranberries.
Spread the mixture over the shortbread evenly and put back in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Leave to cool and cut into squares.
Yes, I really like this. The shortbread is a soft kind of shortbread, not crunchy like the traditional sort. Because of that it works well with the caramel nut and dried fruit topping. However, next time I would make sure I have chocolate in stock, because I think it would be even more delicious dipped in chocolate!