I don’t know what was holding me back from making this Chinese New Year cookie. The last time I made an actual almond florentine with real sugar, with some cherries was in 2006. (ahem). It was also coated with tempered chocolate and it was OH SO YUM. But it was a pain to make because you need to control the thickness of the almond and caramel, your knife and pan has to be coated sufficiently with oil (not too much) and everything has to be cut into shape when its HOT. So you can imagine, 11 students running (well, not really running but rushing) to the monsterous 3 deck ovens to heat up the pan while not burning it. It was quite a thing then.
So then in the recent years when I actually had time and started to really make some cookies for Chinese New Year, I was determined to make almond florentine this year. I knew there was a pre-mix powder in the market to make this, but I’m not sure why after all these years, I didn’t use it. Year after year, my mom would say “Wah, this cookie getting more and more expensive. You know how to make this or not?” Then, I quickly make a trip to the baking ingredients shop and get a packet of almond slice and a packet of the German Almond Crisp (really ? The origin of florentine is actually from Florence, Italy; okay I’m not 100% sure on this but it seems quite accurate here.)
It’s easy to make, but there are some tricks to it. It is also versatile where you can add any other things you want, such as pumpkin seed, lotus or sunflower seed, puff rice, sesame seeds etc etc. The most important step is, actually to add salt. Salt is really important to enhance and lift the overall flavour of ANY sugar product.
- 100g Almond florentine (German Almond Crisp) powder
- 140g Almond flakes
- 30g Sunflower Seeds
- 1 tbsp black sesame seed
- 1 tbsp white sesame seed
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 13" square baking tray with parchment paper.
- Toss almond florentine powder with salt.
- Sprinkle ⅓ of powder on the baking tray.
- Sprinkle almond flakes, sunflower seeds, black and white sesame seeds over the top, making sure to cover the entire baking tray. Try not to overlap too much.
- Sprinkle the remaining ⅔ powder on top and make sure you get to the corners.
- Use a spatula or metal smoother to flatten it. Then push florentine mix and almond slices slightly away from the edge of the pan with a spatula.
- Bake at 180 C for 8 minutes (might differ based on individual oven) or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven. Use a metal smoother (or fondant smoother wrapped with parchment paper) and press flat the baked florentine. Use a pizza cutter to slice the cookie, or use a knife to slice while it is still hot.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Tips on making Almond Florentine
1. Add salt into the florentine mix before sprinkling on a tray
2. Use a tray with low edges so it is easier to cut.
3. Get all your equipments (knife, pizza cutter, leveler (smoother) / something flat and straight and able to press down on) ready.
4. Sprinkle 1/3 of florentine mix, nuts and the remaining 2/3 of the mix over the top.
5. Use a spatula or metal smoother to push florentine mix and almond slices less than 5mm from the edges to get an overall straight edge.
6. Use a metal smoother to flatten the cooked almond florentine while cutting it to prevent breakages after it is cooled.
7. Do not leave the florentine mix exposed as it may turn lumpy due to the humidity that causes the sugar to melt.