Thursday, September 29, 2011


September 24-25, 2011
After weeks of taking my recipe cues from VegMel, I reverted back to my calendar recipes. September's feature is gluten-free florentines. I was looking forward to trying these - my mum would occasionally bake florentines when I was a tween and teen (mostly likely having sourced her recipe from a Women's Weekly cookbook). Hers were very thin and crisp, with a deep brown sugar flavour and chocolate on the back. 

This recipe was a bit different, chocolate-less, and baked into cupcake papers. Though they browned up a little, they didn't have the same depth of flavour. They reminded me more of toffee, a little chewy and inclined to stick to the teeth (happily remedied with a glass of milk on the side).

In the same sitting I attempted a vegan batch with a couple of straight-forward swaps - margarine for butter and maple syrup for honey. While it seemed ridiculously easy, this did affect the results substantially. My vegan florentines (in the pastel pink cases) leaked much more oil while simultaneously gluing themselves firmly to their cases. I don't think anyone trying these escaped without ingesting some paper. They didn't brown up in the oven in quite the same way either. There was still some sticky sweetness to be enjoyed, but I've got to work on my way with vegan fat.

This recipe is very quick and easy to make, and uses the kind of ingredients I have on hand (or can easily substitute). These are all good reasons for me to try again and get this just right.

(a recipe already available online here)

75g butter or margarine
100g castor sugar
50mL coconut cream
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
75g flaked almonds
30g glacé cherries, chopped
30g dried currants

Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases and preheat an oven to 180°C.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter/margarine. Stir in the sugar and coconut cream, bring the mixture to the boil, and then allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, gentle level them off a little, and bake them for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool to room temperature before eating - they'll firm up quite a bit.


  1. what - no chocolate - that is one thing I love about florentines (and condensed milk in the version that I have). I do like the sound of the coconut cream here.

    As for vegan fats - I tried swapping margarine for butter in pastry yesterday and it worked well - have never found it to make a great difference so am interested to see it does here - though I have tried baking with maple syrup instead of honey (where it is prominent) and found this does make a difference.

  2. Thanks for those observations, Johanna! If I make these again, I think I'll spray the patty cases with oil and dramatically reduce the margarine.