THIS time of year is all about indulgence, eating things that we don’t have throughout the year.

Every year I tell myself not to go mad with the shopping and every year it’s the same.

Those two for one offers that start in November which you buy to save money... and will have been eaten before December 1! This year is going to be different and I intend to make the sweet treats myself.

It is unrealistic to make everything for the festive period, but some things can be made in advance.

Christmas is steeped in tradition and most families have their own, which have been handed down from generations.

We can all recall those which relate back to our own childhood.

The recipe today is for florentines.

They are little chocolate coated biscuits which are ideal for serving with tea or morning coffee.

I have added ginger, which gives them a little kick.

If you are not a fan of ginger just add extra cherries instead.

Unfortunately, these do not freeze, but they don’t last that long when the family are around.

I have researched where they came from as I thought the name suggested Florence, Italy, but it seems that they may have originated in France, made for French royalty.

These make great gifts for friends and family.

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Happy Christmas and a Healthy Happy New Year!

Happy baking, Kathy.

Florentines (makes around 20):


50g (2oz) butter

50g (2oz) demerara sugar

50g (2oz) golden syrup

50g (2oz) plain flour

25g (1oz) flaked almonds

25g (1oz) walnut pieces

25g (1oz) glace cherries, chopped finely

25g (1oz) ginger (stem or crystallised), chopped finely

160g (6oz) chocolate, melted (you can use white, milk or dark)


1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180C / Fan 160C.

2. Cut out baking parchment to fit to large baking sheets.

3. Place the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally until the butter has melted.

4. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. DO NOT ADD THE CHOCOLATE!

5. Mix thoroughly.

6. Spoon small amounts onto the baking paper and leave plenty of room for them to spread. Try to make sure that you have one piece of cherry in each biscuit.

7. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown. At this point, they will have lacy edges and will be uneven. If you like neat biscuits, now is the time to tidy the edges with a palette knife.

8. Let the florentines cool and then carefully lift them off the baking paper and place onto your cooling rack with the same side facing upwards.

9. While they are cooling, break your chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat proof bowl and place over a saucepan of boiling water. Stir chocolate until melted. I know some people use the microwave to melt chocolate, so use your preferred method.

10. When the biscuits have cooled completely, turn them over and spread with the melted chocolate. You can use a fork to mark a zig-zag while the chocolate is still warm.

11. Leave to set and then place in an airtight tin.