Day 7 - Pecan Florentines with Eggnog Filling

5:00 AM

I first fell in love with Florentines while on my study abroad in Vienna. My host mom was going on a 2 week business trip, essentially leaving me living alone. When I got back from classes that day, I found a box of the most delicate, crisp, chocolaty cookies. They were so good and I tried to make them last, but eventually they were gone. I looked for more, and tried others, but they were never as good. I still don’t know what kind of magical bakery she found them in.

Fast forward a decade and I’ve still never tried making my own. I’ve always been too intimidated by how amazing those first Florentines were, and how disappointed I was with others I tried, to even bother attempting them myself. Not anymore! While watching the contestants on the British Baking Show struggle through making them, I decided that if they could do it, so could I. So I immediately began looking up and comparing Florentine recipes.

That’s when I found these glorious cookies.  Deb, over at Smitten Kitchen, consistently puts out amazing recipes.  I liked that they were a bit different from a traditional Florentine (that way I wouldn't be totally disappointed if my first attempt didn't turn out like my time-enhanced memory of them) and the eggnog filling....mmmmm! 

I can safely say that I'm over my fear of Florentines after having made this recipe! This opens up a whole new world... Be sure to read through the recipe before you make it.  It might look daunting, but honestly, it's really not!  Don't be afraid to try them - you'll be so glad you did!

Pecan Florentines with Eggnog Filling
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 c. pecan halves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. salted butter (cold is fine!)
  • scant 2/3 c. granulated sugar 
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla 
  • Eggnog Filling (see recipe below)

Make the cookie dough: Preheat oven to 350.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the flour, pecans, cinnamon, and salt.  Pulse until the nuts are very finely chopped. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, heavy cream, and honey.  Bring it to a boil over high heat.  Boil for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour the caramel mixture over the nut mixture and stir to combine.  Set aside for 30 minute, until it has cooled (mixture will firm up a bit, but that's perfectly normal).  Meanwhile, make the filling.

Eggnog Filling

  • 4 large eggs, hard-boiled
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Make the filling: Peel the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites.  You only need the yolks, so don't worry if they don't peel pretty; save the whites for something else.  

In the bowl of an electric mixer, or a large mixing bowl, press the egg yolks through a fine-mesh strainer so they become mashed and powdery.  (Immediately wash out the strainer, or you'll have a big mess later when it dries!) 

Add the butter, milk, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Mix until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Then increase the mixer speed and beat until thick and frosting-like.  Spoon into an airtight container, cover, and set aside. 

Bake the cookies:  Using a 1 Tbsp measure, scoop 3 dough balls onto your baking sheet.  Divide in half so you have 6 small cookie dough balls.  They should be about 3 inches apart - they will spread a ton!  

Bake at 350 degrees F for 7-9 minutes, until cookies are thin and golden brown.  They will not crisp until they are cool, so don't worry if they're soft.

Allow to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, place some paper towels on the counter or another cookie sheet (make sure it's a flat surface).  Transfer cooling cookies to paper towels to blot some of the excess oil for a few more minutes.  Once blotted, transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

If any butter is left on the baking sheet, wipe that off before repeating the baking process.  It helps to set up a little assembly line, with places for cookies to cool on baking sheets, on paper towels, and finally on cooling racks while you prepare another baking sheet of cookies to go into the oven.  Stay close to the kitchen - this all goes just quickly enough that you don't want to go too far!  

Assemble:  Spread a dollop of eggnog filling on one cookie, the gently press a second one on top.  Repeat with remaining cookies.  Place in the fridge for 10 minutes before serving to firm up the filling.  If you don't plan to eat all of them right away, store the filling covered in the refrigerator and the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.  Makes 3 dozen lacy cookies.

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