Gingerbread Florentines

Florentines are something I’ve been serving at my bake shop for a long, long time. The Florentines I make are naturally gluten free cookies, and they are so amazingly delicious that you literally don’t even miss the wheat. And as someone who is in no way gluten free, trust me when I say that.

I have pioneered the Florentine sandwich cookie. Most people make Florentines and serve them plain, half dipped in chocolate, or with chocolate drizzled on top. But when we created our version of these cookies, I knew we had to sandwich them, as sandwich cookies have always been a best seller at the bake shop. And our Florentines are like a sandwich cookie on crack!

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I have a whole chapter dedicated to Florentine cookies in my book, Cookies for Everyone (along with tips and tricks and a step by step guide with photos on how to make the perfect Florentines!). But, with Christmas coming up, I wanted to share my Gingerbread Florentine recipe here on the blog so you guys can experience the magic of these cookies for the holidays.

How to Make Gingerbread Florentines

1. You must have a food processor to make Florentines, as one of the first steps is to grind almonds for exactly 30 seconds. And I am serious when I say exactly, so set a timer. Florentines can be temperamental, but if you follow my recipe exactly, I know you will be successful! Trust me, as I have taught countless amounts of people (with zero baking experience) how to make these exact cookies in my bake shop. And if you are wondering if you can be sneaky and use almond flour in place of grinding the almonds, the answer is no way. Your Florentines won’t turn out if you do this, trust me, I’ve tried.

2. Having a digital thermometer is also very important. This can be a drink thermometer, a candy thermometer, or a chocolate thermometer, as long as it reads high heat temperatures, you are good. It is important to heat the sugar and butter mixture to a certain temperature.

3. Allowing the Florentines to rest is super important. After the dough is made, they will have to rest for at least 15 minutes. The dough is so hot when it’s made, so you cannot ball them immediately. But, you also don’t want it to cool too much, otherwise the dough will be come dry and you won’t be able to form it into balls. This is why setting a timer for the resting time is also key.

4. Once the Florentines are balled, they need will bake. Everyone’s oven is a little different, so make sure you are looking for visual signs before taking them out of the oven. The Florentine cookies should be golden brown, and if they are not and look lighter in color than the photos here, then bake them for another 1 to 2 minutes until they are golden brown! The golden brown color gives them flavor! And, maybe you have an oven that has a hot spot, if that is the case and you notice that one side of the tray is darkening and the other isn’t then make sure to rotate your trays half way through the baking process and that will help even them out.

5. After the Florentines bake, then they need to cool completely before filing them. Make sure they are completely cooled, as they are very fragile and can break easily. Also, you always want any kind of sandwich cookie to be cooled completely so that it doesn’t melt the filling.

6. When making the filling, make sure it’s light and fluffy. It should be light, fluffy and easy to pipe out of the piping bag. If you need to add a little more milk you can do so. You can also use organic coconut milk, almond milk, or even water in place of milk.

7. I always use Ateco decorating tip #864, it’s just kinda my thing. You can use any other decorating tip you want or even no tip at all!

8. Make sure to store Florenitnes in a cool dry place, you can even store them in the fridge if needed or if you live in a very humid climate. These cookies should be thin and crispy, storing them in an airtight container or ziploc bag may make them soggy.

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Why Organic?
Why use organic ingredients in this recipe? You all know I’m a huge organic advocate, and I bet you may be thinking sometimes, Why would I even bother to use organic ingredients in something that is so sweet and indulgent? But, that is the exact reason why you should use organic ingredients! Sweet things need to have flavor in order to be good, otherwise they are just sweet and they don’t taste like much else. Organic ingredients are more pure than conventional ones, therefore they actually have more flavor than the non organic options. Say it with me, organic means more flavor! And not just more flavor but a more true and pure flavor. And organic ingredients are much healthier for you to eat in general as they do not contain GMOs or anything artificial. Plus, you are being environmentally friendly when you choose organic ingredients!

So, I highly recommend that you buy the best organic ingredients for this recipe! You can also shop my Amazon Storefront for all my favorite organic ingredients here. Tip – hover over each ingredient to see the name. And if you want to learn more about organic foods and the difference, read my post here on Food Labels and What They Mean.

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Gingerbread Florentines
Makes 22 sandwiches

Dough
170 grams (1 1/4 cups) organic blanched slivered almonds
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
142 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) organic cane sugar
1/4 cup (57 grams) organic salted butter, chilled
2 tablespoons organic heavy whipping cream
28 grams (1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons) organic light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Filling
340 grams (heaping 2 1/3 cups) organic powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup (170 grams) organic salted butter, softened
21 grams (1 tablespoon) organic blackstrap molasses
1 to 2 teaspoons organic milk
1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon organic cloves
1/2 teaspoon organic ginger

Method
To make the dough: Process the almonds in a food proces­sor for exactly 30 seconds. Transfer the ground almonds to a plastic mixing bowl, add the sea salt, and whisk together to combine.

In a medium pot over medium heat, mix together the cane sugar, butter, cream, and corn syrup with a high­heat spatula, and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 197°F to 200°F on a digital thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the almonds, and stir several times. Add the vanilla extract, and stir to combine completely.

Let the mixture rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until it has cooled enough to touch.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using your hands, form the dough into 44 balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheets (11 should fit on each cookie sheet): line up 3 balls of dough along each long side of the cookie sheet, then zigzag 5 additional balls of dough down the middle (if you have my book, Cookies for Everyone, see “Shaping,” page 167).

Bake for 11 minutes, or until golden­brown. Let cool com­ pletely on the cookie sheets.

To make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the powdered sugar, but­ter, molasses, milk, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Mix on low until combined, increase the speed to high, and mix for 1 minute more, or until light and fluffy. Transfer the filling to a piping bag fit­ ted with Ateco tip #864.

Pair the cookies together by size, and turn over every other one. Pipe a swirl of frosting onto each turned­ over cookie, starting around the outer edge and spiraling into the middle. Care­ fully sandwich the pairs.

Store in a cool dry place for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

High Altitude — Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Did you make this recipe? Make sure to tag @mimibakescookies and @mimibakesphotos on Instagram!

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Make sure to check out my Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, which I’m sure you’ll love too! And, share it with someone who you think may also like it!

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