Did you know that I can see the google search keywords that people type in to end up at my blog? Well, I can. And through seeing how many people read specific posts, I found out that 7 people this week read a post I did a couple of years ago. What, pray tell, is so intruiging about this one post? Well, it's nothing I did, but rather something that I ate. The google search keyword that all of those people typed in was "Glamorgan bakery florentines". And I don't blame them.
That specific blog post from 2010 talked about how Matt was down in Calgary dropping off his motorbike that he just sold, and he and a friend stopped by the bakery I used to live across the street from and bought me my favorite treat from there: their rolled florentines, filled with hazelnut cream and with the ends dipped in chocolate.
Florentines go by a few other names, specifically tuiles or lace cookies. There are traditionally subtle differences between each of these: florentines have a coarser texture and traditionally have chocolate on them, tuiles are typically finer and can mean a cookie, a wafer, or even cheese, and lace cookies are the lazy cousin of florentines that have never been as stringent on absolutes! One thing all of these varieties have in common is the thin, lacey look.
When I first had the Rolled Florentines at Glamorgan Bakery in Calgary, I thought, "I can't be in Alberta anymore... they just don't make things like this in Alberta!" It was like someone had hand delivered a beautiful, tasty trinket directly from Europe. It was caramelly, it was crispy, it had this hazelnut cream that I would sell my dog for (sorry Cash)... it was divine.
I had to make one.
But I had no idea where to start.
This post, two years later, is a snapshot of my unfinished quest as I try to replicate the most perfect Rolled Florentine. If you live in Calgary, AB, I highly suggest that you have a standing order of Rolled Florentines from the Glamorgan Bakery on Richmond Road at least once a week. Preferrably once a day (maybe twice, but that might be crazy). For those of us who are unfortunately not within a reasonable distance of this shop of wonders, we shall have to make do with making our own.
While I have yet to attempt to replicate the hazelnut cream, I have successfully made a reasonable knock-off of a good florentine. My recipe is a bit chewier, and slightly more buttery than the Glamorgan one, but they definitely fill the craving. Oh, and they are addictive (just ask Matt.) This recipe is taken from Pampered Chef's cookbook Cooking for Two or More and is actually used to make 'cookie towers' to wrap around ice cream. I have tweeked the process a little bit, but the amounts are all theirs. One more note: they recommend cooking these on stoneware, and I second that. Part of the wonderfulness of florentines is their crispiness, and that will be achieved more easily with stoneware than a metal cookie sheet. If you don't have stoneware however, metal will still work.
Florentine Cookie Towers
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped almonds
Whisk together first 4 ingredients. Divide into 4 circles on a parchment lined stoneware sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Sprinkle circles with almonds. (If you are having troubles making nice circles, dip a round cookie cutter in flour, tap it off, and use the cookie cutter as a mold). Bake at 350 for 13 - 15 minutes (8 - 11 if you're using a metal sheet) on the lowest rack of your oven, or until deep golden. Remove from oven, gently lift each circle and quickly roll over a small cup, chopstick or roll like paper (each will yield a slightly different shape - if you're looking to fill them with cream or something, try the chopstick)
Sometimes the cookies will all run across the sheet and will just make one large blob of cookie (typically if your pan was hot before you baked them, if they were too close together, or if your measurements were slightly off). No worries. Just use a flour dipped cookie cutter to cut the circles out afterwards.
If you want to take a stab at a hazelnut flavoured cream, I recommend heating cream and a bit of nutella in a saucepan, just until the two are combined, chilling the mixture, and then whipping it. Then to fill, dip one end of the florentine in chocolate, let set, pipe the cream in, and then dip the other end in more chocolate to seal the cream in!
Bear in mind, this is halfway through the process of discovering the perfect florentine recipe, so I promise to one day post a perfected recipe, but for now, enjoy this one! I know I do!
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)