Notes: If you like, you can decorate these lacy, candylike cookies with more chocolate, piped in fine lines. For best results, use flat (not warped) baking sheets lined with cooking parchment. To grind almonds, whirl in a food processor or blender. Store florentines airtight for up to 2 days.
Sunset NOVEMBER 2003
1. In a 1- to 2-quart pan over low heat, melt butter. Add sugar and cream and stir over high heat until mixture is boiling. Remove from heat and stir in flour, candied orange peel, and ground and sliced almonds.
2. Drop batter in 1-tablespoon portions onto cooking parchment-lined or buttered and floured 12- by 15-inch baking sheets (see notes), evenly spacing up to six portions on each sheet. With the back of a spoon, spread each portion into a 2-inch round.
3. Bake one pan at a time in a 350° oven until edges of cookies are lightly browned (centers will still be bubbling), 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Let cookies cool on pan until firm enough to remove, about 2 minutes; to test, lift a corner of a cookie with your fingers, or slide a spatula under a corner. If it's too soft to hold its shape, wait a few seconds longer; if it's firm, lift off with your fingers or a spatula. Set cookies on racks to cool.
5. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (bottom of bowl should not touch water), stir chocolate often until melted and smooth, 5 to 8 minutes. With a pastry brush, gently coat the back of each cookie with chocolate. Lay coated cookies on racks, chocolate side up, and chill until chocolate is firm, about 10 minutes.
6. Serve, or immediately package airtight (cookies soften quickly from moisture in the air) in rigid containers, putting waxed paper between layers.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per cookie.
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