It's not that long to Christmas ladies really, so I'm replacing Sunday Afternoon Tea Bakes with Festive Bakes from now up until Christmas, to give you some inspiration for a few home made goodies to serve either in the days leading up to or over Christmas itself.
I always think homemade pies and biscuits at Christmas make it that extra bit special, and really make your family feel loved and your guests feel welcome, that you've made that extra effort for them.
The same principles will apply ~ everything is made by my hands only, no electric mixers and all the recipes can be made by everyone, even a complete beginner.
Today I'm baking Chocolate Florentine Stars, so incredibly simple and quick to make, but very tasty, quite rich in flavour but that's what Christmas is all about ~ a little indulgence!
~ Chocolate Florentine Stars ~
140g Light Muscavado Sugar
100g Clear Honey
200g Salted Butter
100g Desiccated Coconut
140g Flaked Almonds
300g Glace Cherries Sliced
60g Plain Flour
100g Milk Chocolate
100g White Chocolate
~ Method ~
Heat the oven to 180 degrees, grease and line with greaseproof paper a swiss roll tin or similar shallow baking tin.
Place the sugar, honey, and butter into a pan and heat gently until the butter has melted, stirring occasionally.
Next stir in the coconut, almonds, cherries and flour, till everything is coated and mixed together.
Spoon out the mixture onto your prepared baking tin and spread out to a thin layer evenly, my tin was a little too big so I put a loaf tin up against the edge of the mixture under the greaseproof paper just to stop it spreading while it was cooking!! Improvisation girls !!
Bake in the oven for about 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown. The leave to one side in the tin to cool completely.
Line another tin with greaseproof paper, and flip the cool florentine bake onto it, then carefully peel off the greaseproof paper.
Finally line your original tin with fresh greaseproof paper again. Next cut you florentine bake in half and carefully transfer one half to the tin so you have two separate bakes.
Meanwhile melt the white chocolate in a bowl over some simmering water, once melted pour it over one of the bakes and using a small spatula spread it evenly over the bake.
Repeat this again for the milk chocolate.
Leave to cool, however do not let the chocolate set completely before you start cutting out the star shapes otherwise it will crack. You need to catch it while it is set but still a little squishy to the touch.
Finally using different sized star cutters start to cut out your florentines, a good sharp push will get them out cleanly, using the different sizes will maximise the quantity of florentines you can produce and cut down on the waste, although the waste edges taste just as good!
Unfortunately, today I managed to cut out two white stars when the phone range and I got distracted for half an hour, during which time I'd missed the boat and my chocolate had set hard, so my florentine stars do have cracked chocolate.... never mind they still taste just as good, but look slightly distressed!
Yours will be perfect ~ if you don't get distracted like I was!!!
Perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea, hot chocolate or a glass of Mulled Wine or two!