Florentine bars

Florentine bars

By
From
Lucy's Bakes
Makes
16 bars
Prep
15 mins
Cooking time
35 mins
Photographer
Jacqui Melville

On Saturday mornings when I was small my father walked me, my brothers and sister to my granny’s house via a continental bakery (very unusual for those days – the bakery not the walk!). My father would choose a coffee éclair, my brother a lemon bun, but I would choose a giant Florentine – all those nuts and toffee stuck to a thick slab of very dark chocolate. Perhaps an odd choice for a 5-year-old but I loved them all the same. I have grown to realise that this intense combination is not everyone’s cup of tea, so this is a version of a Florentine for those with a sweeter tooth – a brown sugar shortbread topped with caramel, nuts and fruit and then a choice of your favourite chocolate to top it all off. This recipe works very well with any combination of fruit and nut.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the base

Quantity Ingredient
150g butter
75g demerara sugar
250g self-raising flour

For the topping

Quantity Ingredient
5g butter, at room temperature
150g demerara sugar
1 large egg
70g golden syrup
100g dried apricots, chopped
or 100g cranberries
100g whole hazelnuts or pistachios
100g dark chocolate, melted

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20 cm square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Rub the butter and sugar into the flour to make the base using your fingers and thumbs. It may still be crumbly, but squeeze it together a little and let the warmth of your hands bring it together, then press it into the base of the tin. Set the bowl aside to make the topping in.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until it is golden in colour. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile make the topping. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl until mixed, then beat in the egg. Add the remaining topping ingredients except the chocolate and spread over the slightly cooled shortbread. Return this to the oven for a further 15–20 minutes or until it is golden brown all over.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave until completely cold in the tin. Break up the chocolate and place in a bowl over a pan of boiling water and stir occasionally until melted. Drizzle the traybake with the melted chocolate. When the chocolate has set, cut into triangles or squares.

Note

  • This recipe is vegetarian.

What the testers say

  • DI PALUMBO – ‘I never think I am going to like a traybake as I assume they will be too sweet but these were fabulous. I used 70 per cent chocolate for extra bitterness and might add some ginger next time.’

    LIZ EVERSON – ‘I made a family-friendly version of these with almonds and sour cherries, topped with milk chocolate – they did not last long in the tin.’

    BEN COLEBY – ‘I thought these were really delicious. I made the mini Florentines and then these as an alternative – I liked both but these were more of a teatime biscuit.’
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