Chocolate-Dipped Florentine Shortbreads
- TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS
- SERVINGS: MAKES ABOUT 4 DOZEN COOKIES
Here Pierre Hermé combines the tenderness of shortbread with the elegance of florentines, the caramelized almond cookies studded with glittering candied fruit.
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice and chilled
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup chestnut honey
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 3 cups sliced blanched almonds ( 3/4 pound)
- 2/3 cup finely diced candied orange rind ( 1/4 pound)
- 3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter the bottom and sides of an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving about 1 inch overhanging at the short ends. Butter the parchment.
- In a food processor, pulse the diced butter with the sugar and the salt 6 times. Add the flour and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Spread the crumbs on the baking sheet and press them into a thin, even layer with floured hands. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until firm. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack. Increase the oven temperature to 425°
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the orange zest over moderate heat just until bubbles appear around the edge, about 5 minutes. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Cook the syrup over moderately high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until a medium amber caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the honey, the infused cream and the butter and stir until the butter melts. Cook the caramel topping over moderately high heat until a candy thermometer registers 255°, about 4 minutes. Stir in the almonds and candied orange rind and immediately spread the caramel over the pastry with a wooden spoon.
- Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake the pastry for 10 minutes, or until the topping is bubbling. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
- Run a knife around the edge of the baking sheet to loosen the pastry and slide the parchment paper onto a work surface. Using a sharp, heavy knife, cut the pastry into 2 1/2-inch strips. Cut the strips into 2 1/2-by-3-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally in half.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with wax paper. Melt two-thirds of the chocolate in a bowl in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until completely melted. Dip 1 corner of each cookie into the chocolate and transfer it to the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate until the chocolate is just set, about 5 minutes.