Removing gluten from my diet has improved my well being immeasurably. However, I question the value of the vast range of commercial gluten free copycat products on the supermarket shelves. Does anyone really need to consume a cocktail of refined grain flours, vegetable gums, chemical sugars and fats?
I continue to be dedicated to minimizing my chemical consumption, but I also need to keep fat, salt, fructose, lactose and sugar under control, which means my diet is largely meat, poultry and fish, fresh vegetables and simple grains.
I am not however, a dietary zealot. I enjoy a piece of cake, a chocolate or biscotti with my coffee, and upon reflection realize there are countless recipes I have produced over my lifetime of cooking that are naturally gluten free without the addition of modern chemical constructs; sponge cakes with cornflour, rice flour shortbread, macaroons and meringues and magnificent special occasion chocolate nut cakes.
This recipe for Florentines dates back to my days in catering when we would bake them in batches numbering into the hundreds, a glamorous sweet treat to serve at morning and afternoon teas and with after dinner coffee.
Below if you keep scrolling you’ll find a list with links to the recipes for sweet gluten free treats that I have already posted on my blog, but firstly, while I have cornflakes in the pantry leftover from making the delicious unbaked coconut pie crust, here’s the recipe for my naturally gluten free Florentines.
1/2 cup flaked almonds
1/2 cup lightly crushed cornflakes
2 tablespoons glacé ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons glacé black cherries* finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried citrus peel
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon maize flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cream
90g dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to160C. Line two oven trays with baking paper.
Combine the chopped almonds, crushed corn flakes, chopped ginger and cherries, lemon zest, cinnamon and maize flour in a bowl. Melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring constantly until the sugar has melted. Allow to mixture to boil until it begins to caramelize. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cream, be careful as it will splutter, then when the bubbles subside, pour the butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Drop small teaspoons full of mixture onto the trays about 5 cm apart then flatten slightly with a spatula. The Florentines will spread significantly in the oven so don’t crowd the trays. Bake for approx 10 mins or until well browned.
If the Florentines have spread into one another or become badly misshapen, immediately after removing them from the oven they can be pushed them back into shape with the edge of a knife.
Allow to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
When the biscuits are cold, melt the chocolate and spread it thickly on the back of each Florentine. Allow the chocolate to set. Makes 4 dozen
*Do try and buy natural glacé cherries without any artificial colouring.
I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater.
I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience.
I hope you enjoy what I share
Sandra AKA ladyredspecs