GBBO week 2 this year was biscuit week. Now, while most biscuits are easily convertible to gluten & dairy free, I wanted to set myself a challenge.
One of Britain’s most loved biscuits (believed to originate from France), the Florentine. A family favourite, especially at Christmas, makes the perfect gift and is loved by most of the family… of course with a hot cuppa!
So, being one to not make things easy I decided that I would make a Florentine and convert it to suit my dietary requirements – free from wheat, gluten, nuts, dairy and refined sugar… Da, Da daaaa! Yep… what a challenge. Baking a Florentine gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, nut free and free from refind sugar is certainly a different kind of bake!
Traditionally they are combined using sliced almonds, saltanas, caramel and a dark chocolate coating, so I wanted to stick to as close to the original as possible. You can of course change the ingredients as you want to. Mango cheeks, apricots and any other dried fruit make superb additions. The thing to consider when removing the nuts is that you need to create a crunch, which I was able to replicate using the selection of ingredients.
Shaping your Florentine: If you want a uniform look, you can use a silicone tray or cupcake/muffin pan. If you grease it and line it with strips of parchment paper you can lift the biscuit out once it has cooled. If you would like a thinner (and crispier), more rustic and traditional Florentine, line 2 trays with parchment paper and plop spoonfuls of your mix onto your tray, leaving a 2″ (5cm) gap between each one as they will spread.
I think this goes without saying but hot sugar is like molten lava! Do NOT touch these when they come out of the oven!! They will be piping hot and will burn you. Leave them to cool and harden.
Nut Free Florentines! GBBO Week 2, Biscuit Week.
- Servings: 10-12
- Time: 10 mins prep time, 20-22 mins cook time. TOTAL = 30-32 MINUTES
- Difficulty: Easy peazy lemon squeezy
- 1 1/2 cup Maple & Banana Granola (or for a little less crunch you can use 1 cup granola with 1/2 cup porridge oats)
- 1/4 cup glace cherries, chopped
- 2 tbsp organic sultanas
- 1tsp orange zest
- 3tbsp vegan butter (I used Stork block as it sets harder)
- 1/4 cup Algarve Nectar (for a more traditional bake use golden syrup or honey)
- 1tbsp gluten free plain flour
- 70g dark, unsweetened chocolate (I used Like No Udder Orange to enhance the Christmassy taste)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/Gas Mark
- Grease the 12 hole muffin pan with butter and place a strip of parchment about 1″ thick across each hole or by lining 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
- In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients together: oats and/or granola, glace cherries, sour cherries, organic sultanas and orange zest.
- Separately in a medium saucepan add the coating ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, and Algarve Nectar (or honey or golden syrup). Melt them together over low heat until all the densities have dissolved together creating one mixture.
- Pour the caramel coating over the dry mixture and stir it well to combine. You will find the more you mix, the more the lumps of wetness combine with the remaining dry mix.
- Take two spoons, drop spoonsful of the mix into your prepared tray.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden in amber gold in colour. Here’s the catch… you need to catch them before they are so crispy you could use them as frisbees, and after they are still soft and flapjacky. It does that a little bit of trial and error to know when this point is, so, if you are a beginner, bake one at a time until you get the timing perfect, at this point cook the whole batch together.
- Allow them to cool completely in the trays (remember HOT MOLTEN LAVA), use the ends of the tabs and gently pull them out. You may need to smooth of any stuck edge bits gently with a knife.
- Melt the chocolate (I melted mine for 30 seconds, stirred and then in intervals of 10 seconds stirring in between). Gently holding the top edges of your biscuit, dip the base of the biscuit into the melted chocolate, turn them upside down and place them back on a try a or cooling rack to harden.
As always, I love to see what you bake at home and to hear your feedback. Please do share your homebake photos with me by tagging me in @ecofootprintsuk
Happy baking! Jojo xXx