Fruit and nuts in a caramel filling over a orange flavored shortbread crust is an unforgettable combination!  This is a candy-like cookie with the caramel topping.  It is somewhat addictive too.  The recipe comes from one of  the Cuisine At Home cookbooks called Cuisine Holiday Cookies.  It has several wonderful recipes I enjoy making and sharing.

It is good to use a candy thermometer, but if you do not have one, just boil the filling until it is the color of straw, about 5 minutes.

To substitute golden brown sugar for the dark brown sugar, add 2 to 3 teaspoons molasses after mixing in the brown sugar to the butter.  I do not always have fresh orange zest so I substitute a few drops of Boyajian Pure Orange Oil along with a little dried orange zest if I have it.

This recipe may be doubled and cooked in two pans.  If you have a scale, which I highly recommend, weigh the dough before spreading in the pan and divide evenly.  My baking sheet is slightly wider than called for but it works fine.

After gently melting the chocolate, put it in a Ziploc sandwich bag, snip off a little of the corner and drizzle over the bars.  Let it set a few minutes before cutting into triangles or bars.

 

FLORENTINE BARS

CRUST:

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened (12 tablespoons or 6 ounces or 170 grams)
  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (160 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons minced orange zest
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (120 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

FILLING:

  • 6 tablespoons butter (3 ounces or 85 grams)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (198 grams)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup honey (85 grams)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (86 grams)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (57 grams)
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries (71 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon minced orange zest

TOPPING:

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350° F.

For the crust, beat the butter and egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer until well combined, about 3-4 minutes.  Add brown sugar and zest; beat until light and fluffy.  Add flour and salt and blend just until combined.

Coat an 8 1/2 x 12-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray or shortening, line with parchment paper, and coat paper with nonstick spray or shortening.

Spread crust onto prepared baking sheet with an offset spatula.  Bake crust until golden, about 15 minutes; transfer to a cooling rack.  {Keep crust hot for adding filling.}

For the filling, heat 6 tablespoons butter, granulated sugar, cream, and honey over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Turn up heat and bring to a boil.  Cook mixture until it reaches 240° on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes, or until the color of straw.  Remove from heat and stir in almonds, cranberries, cherries and 1 tablespoon zest.

Spread filling over hot crust and bake 15 minutes; cool on a rack.  Chill bars until ready to cut.  Remove bars from baking sheet, using a bench scraper to loosen sides.  Peel off parchment paper.  Drizzle melted chocolate over bars.  Cut bars into 24 triangles using a large knife.

Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Bars may be frozen for up to one month.  Makes 24 bars.

Ready to bake
Ready to eat
Fabulous Florentine Bars

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