These vegan Florentines really are fantastic. They become beautifully golden and crispy around the edges, with a lovely chewy texture in the middle. They're enough to satisfy your afternoon sugar cravings, but with only 78 calories per Florentine, plus providing a little protein and iron hit, you don't need to feel at all guilty. They're also really easy to make, but look quite impressive - the sort of thing you might see in the window of a patisserie. So, they'd make a great handmade gift this Christmas (they keep for 7-10 days in a jar).
I cooked these in a muffin tin, which makes for small discs that are quite nice and uniform. If you prefer a more rustic look, you can simply dollop the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper - they will flatten and spread out as they cook so leave lots of space between them. They will come out thinner (depending how finely you chop the ingredients) so you may need to reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes.
It's great fun to experiment with ingredients with these - try any other dried fruit such as cranberries or apricots, and adding spices like cinnamon makes them feel extra festive. Let me know if you have any great flavour combinations that I should try!
Vegan Orange, Date, and Dark Chocolate Florentines
Ingredients (makes 12):
3 Tbsp flaked almonds
3 Tbsp pitted dates
Zest of half an orange (unwaxed)
3 Tbsp vegan butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp wholemeal flour
50g Dark chocolate
Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Tip your almonds into a small frying pan and dry-fry for a few minutes, stirring / shaking the pan frequently, until they have browned and become aromatic, then set aside. Next, zest your orange and chop the dates into very small pieces. In a pan, melt the vegan butter, then add the sugar and maple syrup to dissolve. Then, stir in the flour, using a fork to fully incorporate. Add the zest, dates, and toasted almonds to the pan and mix thoroughly. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with a little vegan butter, then divide the mixture into each of the cups. Use your fingers to press the mixture flat into each cup. Then bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden and crispy. Cool the florentines for 20 minutes (they will be soft at first but will harden as they cool). Use a teaspoon to scoop / pop them out of the tin. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water (when melting chocolate, always bear in mind that chocolate doesn't need much heat - remember it can easily melt in your pocket! Too much heat and the chocolate will split). Then spoon the dark chocolate over the back of the Florentines, and pop in the fridge to set.
Nutrition per Florentine:
Protein: 1.1g(Women: 2.2% / Men: 2.0%)
Iron: 0.7mg(Women: 4.7% / Men: 6.2%)
Calories: 78(Women: 3.9% / Men: 3.1%)
Sugar: 6.5g(Women: 7.2% / Men: 5.4%)
Total Fats: 4.4g(Women: 6.3% / Men: 4.6%)
Saturated Fat: 1.4g(Women: 7.0% / Men: 4.7%)
Salt: <0.1g(Women: <0.1% / Men: <0.1%)
Fibre: 1.0g(Women: 3.3% / Men: 3.3%)
See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.