Please Pass the Recipe

sharing recipes from one generation to the next

Florentines, naturally gluten free


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
60g butter
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.

Chocolate, Coffee and Walnut Cake
Macadamia Meringues
Choc Chip Fruit Chews
Citrus Marmalade cake
Ginger Carrot Cake
Anzac Biscuits (Cookies)
Chocolate Hazelcake
Walnut Coffee Meringues
White Christmas
Jaffa Chews
Chocolate Meringue Cake
Nutty Bites


About ladyredspecs

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

17 comments on “Florentines, naturally gluten free

  1. Lynne
    October 9, 2020

    Wondering what you mean by mean by Maize flour – is this what I would call cornfour made with corn or do you mean corm meal or finer flour made from corn. I am keen to make these.


    • ladyredspecs
      October 10, 2020

      Cornflour made with corn which is maize, not wheaten cornflour. Enjoy


  2. dunelight
    December 11, 2016

    Sounds and looks delicious!


  3. thehungrymum
    November 9, 2014

    how delish – perfect for morning tea!


  4. dunelight
    August 18, 2014

    The top photo is like music in my mouth. I often make something similar around the holidays but the old southern recipe I used called them ‘Lace’ cookies. I was supposed to roll them into a cone shape when they were still warm but I often let them dry flat. You’ve added a few more things that look delicious.


    • ladyredspecs
      August 18, 2014

      We make lace cookies here too, no fruit, nuts or chocolate, but still very tempting


  5. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward
    January 22, 2014

    I am so impressed by the originality of your recipe. It looks delicious, too! I am with you – natural food, but all things in moderation – like cake and chocolate. 🙂 Best wishes, Shanna


  6. dishnthekitchen
    November 15, 2013

    Perfect post! you have just hit the nail on the head with gluten free replacements. My sister has had a dietary overhaul and has cut down dramatically on refined sugars and many things with a ton of gluten. She insists she’s not gluten free. But what I see when I go to the gluten free store is her buying all sorts of ‘food’ with crap in it. Especially the sugar replacements! I’m quite concerned as she is trying to conceive.
    Also, my in laws were just here and my father in law just had his first florentine under my watch. he was immediately captivated so I led him to the article in the newest issue of Cook’s Illustrated and I think he’s going to try to make them. Is it just a coincidence our brains are in sync? LOL
    PS. our recipe does not contain cornflakes


    • ladyredspecs
      November 15, 2013

      It seems in the blogging world there are often like minds! I have used many Florentine recipes over the years. This became my “professional” recipe of choice because the cornflakes provide the same texture as almonds at a fraction of the price. It would certainly still work if you omitted the cornflakes and replaced them with the same quantity of almonds. I have a friend who is a coeliac, and before I started having food intolerances, I often wondered why I was unwell after sharing her treats. Sorbitol, honey, dextrose and agave syrup were the main culprits!


  7. Darya
    November 14, 2013

    It is interesting to see how many dishes and desserts can be naturally gluten free, as you say. I have no problems with gluten myself, but I do try to keep my intake of everything balanced (not just gluten). I realized that I often cook naturally gluten free dishes without even knowing it, and only would notice when tagging my recipes for the blog! 🙂
    I haven’t had florentines in ages, and your recipe sounds quite delicious!


    • ladyredspecs
      November 14, 2013

      Like you, I’m always cook being consciously aware of moderation in all things. Cooking GF mostly comes naturally. I think its only when you try to reproduce old favourites that use wheat, rye or barley that you become disillusioned/frustrated. The florentines are seriiously decadent and delicious!


  8. Leah
    November 14, 2013

    Yum! Love your Florentines. It really is amazing how many gluten free treats are around that just wasn’t ever designed to be that way specifically. No excuses for bad food or food that is bad for you 🙂


    • ladyredspecs
      November 14, 2013

      Thanks and you’re right, junk is junk, even if it’s gluten free! I’ve been trawling through the old blue folder today and turned up a whole load of cakes too!XXX


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