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Alongside rainbow cookies and sprinkle-covered butter cookies, Florentines are a staple of Italian-American bakeries. You'll often find them gussied up with chocolate, and, growing up, the white chocolate dipped version was one of my absolute favorite treats. Now I prefer the more traditional version, paired down to their paper thin elegance. In fact with all that white chocolate coating, it took me a long time to realize that true Florentines should taste of orange and almonds.
These cookies are delicate but addictive; crisp and sweet, brightened by the zest and given subtle floral notes from the almonds. Whereas many recipes will have you grind almonds until they're essentially almond flour, I prefer to roughly chop blanched sliced almonds so that you get a more interesting texture and some visual appeal. The almonds are mixed with a cooked sugar mixture and, because I think it works the best to hold the thin batter together, light corn syrup.
If you have silipat sheets, this is the time to use them. As I mentioned, these cookies are incredibly thin and, as they cool, they'll become very crisp. It's much easier to peel them off the silicone liners than off greased parchment. One other word of advice: don't store these cookies with another type as the moisture from the other cookies will cause these to soften. But do make them: they are a perfect spring cookie, and lovely crumbled up over some ice cream.
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