Cocoa Nib Florentines · GF (about 24, 4" cookies)
In Lexington, you can find cocoa nibs at Liquor Barn, or you can buy them in bulk at Good Foods Market.
I think these would make a great addition to a Tea Party, or you can hoard them for yourself in the cookie jar.
12 ounces pecans
4 ounces cocoa nibs
6 ounces all purpose flour (use rice flour for Gluten Free)
1 ounce cocoa powder
8 ounces butter
3 3/4 ounces honey
10 ounces sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp instant coffee powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
optional: a few ounces of dark chocolate for drizzling.
Preheat the oven to ye ol’ 350° and have 2 parchment lined baking sheets at the ready. You will seriously regret making these cookies on a naked cookie sheet, or even a buttered one. Consider yourself warned. Have a few large, round cookie cutters standing by too.
Making the dough
Chop the pecans and cocoa nibs until no large pieces remain (aim for a chunky mixture with pieces the size of nerds candy). Alternately, you can do this in a food processor. In either event, toss the chopped pecans and nibs with the flour and cocoa and set aside.
In a medium pot, melt the butter and honey together. When they’ve liquefied, add the sugar, salt, and espresso powder. Bring this mixture to a boil; stir occasionally to insure the sugar dissolves completely. Once is begins to boil, shut off the heat and stir in the vanilla and dry ingredients.
Use a small ice cream scoop or Tablespoon to measure out even, rounded portions of dough. Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, bearing in mind they will spread considerably; leave about 4” between each cookie.
Bake for 13-15 minutes or until they have spread thinly and turned uniformly dark and lacy. You may find some of the cookies have, like some sort of delicious, chocolaty version of the Borg, spread enough to assimilate their neighbors. Worry not. You can cut them free later.
Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the pan for about a minute before trying to cut them out with the cookie cutter.
Cutting the Florentines
To cut the irregularly shaped cookies into clean rounds, you’ll need to use the largest round cookie cutter you have that does not exceed the size of the cookies. I have not had much success cutting these cookies into non-round shapes.
The goal here is not to “cut out” the cookies like you would with an unbaked cookie dough, but rather to stamp “perforations lines” onto each soft, semi-molten cookie. Don’t worry about trimming away the excess. Just stamp.
Once the cookies have cooled completely, simply pick up each cookie and snap off the ragged edges. The excess will break away cleanly, leaving you with a perfectly round cookie. (Please do not under any circumstance throw away the scrappy crumb type bits! You must save them, in a zippy bag, to sprinkle over ice cream or possibly breakfast cereal. You will thank me for this reminder someday.)
If at any stage in the game, the cookies become too hard to stamp, just pop ‘em back in the oven for 30 seconds or so, then try again.
Jazz up the cookies, if you like, by drizzling them with melted chocolate.
Another way to get fancy: you can make the Florentines stand up on edge. You’ll need to make up a batch of decorative caramel and dip the cookies, letting them form hard, caramel “feet”. Start by setting a piece of parchment on your counter top. (It’s hard to do this on a sheet pan, because most sheet pans are not perfectly flat).
Dip each cookie about 1/4” into the liquid caramel, letting the excess drip off. Then, set the cookie upright on the parchment paper, pressing down firmly, but gently, to create a flat “foot.”
Use a jar or bottle to support the cookie while the foot cools, or just hold it until the caramel hardens. You can also use another caramel-dipped cookie as a support by placing the two cookies together in a “T” shape.
Once the feet become hard, store the cookies in an airtight container to prevent the caramel feet from becoming sticky. When you’re ready to serve, these cookies will now stand up straight on the plate.
Feb 15, 2011 · 3:08 PM
These look really crunchy and delicious! Great photo, too! Thanks for sharing this!
· Cheryl and Adam · www.pictureperfectmeals.com
Feb 15, 2011 · 7:07 PM
Oh me oh my….these look incredible. I just got some cocoa nibs the other day thinking i want these, but am not sure what to make…..perfect. Thank you
· lauren · forevernowandthen.com
Feb 16, 2011 · 10:59 AM
mmm I think these will be perfect to bake for my sister this weekend! Thanks for the idea
· stephchows · stephchows.blogspot.com
Feb 16, 2011 · 11:01 AM
Hi Debbie! Cocoa nibs are dry roasted pieces of cocoa beans, essentially the purest form of chocolate. They are very crunchy, like nuts, and have an intense chocolate flavor. You can usually find them in the bulk food section of health food stores, upscale groceries like Whole Foods, or your local co-op.
You can use them like nuts in most recipes. I hope you’ll try them out!
Feb 17, 2011 · 12:15 PM
Gorgeous cookie stack and good info about cocoa nibs.
· sandraleegarth · www.thesweetsensations.com
Feb 17, 2011 · 1:27 PM
@Sandra, thank you! I think cocoa nibs are really underutilized and hope more people give them a try!
@Newkiwi, are you curious more about the end result, or about the process of making them? Obviously, I’m biased since it’s my recipe; but I’ve made these nearly every day this month at work and I think they’re a cinch to make. Then again, I have a lot of obnoxious baking tasks to accomplish every day, so maybe I’m not a good judge. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you.
Feb 17, 2011 · 3:44 PM
Beautiful photo. The florentines look so yummy.
· alyce · culinarythymes.com
Feb 17, 2011 · 6:02 PM
These look great. I have never used cocoa nibs. Something new to try.
· threemealsaday · www.threemealsaday.com
Feb 17, 2011 · 7:30 PM
These sound like pure chocolatey heaven! Florentines are already one of my favourite cookies, but this just takes them to a whole new level of awesome. Now I just need to check my local health food market to see if they carry cocoa nibs (or can tell me where to find them)!
· Isabelle · messycook.blogspot.com
Feb 17, 2011 · 10:19 PM
Sounds great and looks wonderful. I have not had cocoa nibs, but eager to try them now.
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· Food Frenzy · blogstew.net/foodfrenzy
Feb 20, 2011 · 10:12 AM
I made these last night and they were SO easy and quick. Mine didn’t get as thin as I would have liked but they most certainly are not a flop. I especially love the extra bits you break off around the edges – a myriad of uses
· Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite · www.eatlivetravelwrite.com
Dec 09, 2011 · 12:07 PM
@Paige, cocoa nib salad dressing?! My kinda salad!! Sounds great!
Dec 18, 2011 · 7:36 AM
Delicious, and so easy to make! Though I ended up with one huge Borg-florentine in the first batch.
Are the cocoa nibs supposed to be roasted or not? I only found raw cocoa nibs (the chocolate shop was out of roasted ones) and quickly toasted them in a pan to bring out the flavor.
Dec 18, 2011 · 2:12 PM
@cecukemon, I use roasted nibs at work, though thankfully they come that way for me. I’ve actually never worked with raw nibs! I’d be curious how they taste (probably very weak… . Haha, love the idea of Borg-florentines. Resistance is certainly futile…
Feb 20, 2012 · 6:42 PM
@cloud_swift, yes! These are quite delicious even without it, so just feel free to leave it out.
Feb 27, 2012 · 10:06 PM
@Martha Bakes, thank you so much, dear. I’m glad to hear they were a success for you!!
Jun 07, 2012 · 12:58 PM
@thumbwar, what kind of allergy does your friend have? Cos almonds are definitely a nut… I haven’t tried this with almonds, actually. I’m not sure the texture would work out the same; the pecans are a bit absorbent and that changes the texture of the batter/cookie.
Jun 16, 2012 · 1:31 PM
@thumbwar, I gotcha! I think, if anything, pistachios would make the best substitute because they have a similar texture to pecans and would absorb the butter in the same way.
Nov 25, 2012 · 4:45 PM
I absolutely love your site. I have a real soft spot for cookies but can’t eat half of the ingredients in most recipes as I have IBS and am on a low FODMAPs diet. I was wondering if you thought it would be possible to use light corn syrup in place of the honey in this recipe? I sadly cannot eat honey but the other ingredients all work for me (as long as I don’t have too many of them
· Penchantforproduce · Penchantforproduce.com
Nov 25, 2012 · 8:50 PM
Hi Penchantforproduce! I don’t think you’ll have any trouble with a swap for light corn syrup. I chose honey for the extra flavor, but light corn syrup will get the job done (structurally speaking) and let you focus on the chocolate flavor of the florentines instead. Happy baking!
May 27, 2013 · 9:32 PM
Hi ceca! I’ve never tried it with a silicon mold, so I’m not sure. The stamping is only necessary if you really want a clean edge, it’s just a cosmetic step so you could certainly skip it if you like!
Jul 21, 2013 · 7:02 PM
Hi Bek! You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had raw cocoa nibs. All of my sources only sell them roasted. I didn’t even specify raw vs toasted because of that; do you know the brand that sells them raw? I’d be curious to see what’s up with that!
Apr 02, 2014 · 5:04 AM
I have been trying to make Florentines without much success! Although the biscuits cool to a good crunchy texture initially, they very quickly melt and become soggy. Not sure if it is the recipes I have been using or my technique nor sobi know which part to change! Do you have a plain florentine recipe you could suggest or can this recipe be converted to a non- choc version? What things could I be doing wrong???
Apr 02, 2014 · 11:58 PM
Hi Meredith! Argh, sorry to hear about your Florentine woes. No fun. Do you mean this recipe is causing you trouble, or other recipes in general? Without knowing the details, it would be really hard to troubleshoot as some use a candy-method and others a cookie method. It may be an equipment issue, like a thermometer that’s off base, but it sounds like an ingredient issue. That could be the result of converting between cups and weight (or vice versa), or from regional differences (like European vs American butter). Anyhow, you’re welcome to swap the cocoa nibs in this recipe for another nut!
Apr 24, 2014 · 6:14 PM
Thanks for another wonderful recipe! I’d like to try making this Florentine cookies but all I have on hand is dark chocolated coated cocoa nibs. Can I use that in the recipe instead of cocoa nibs? Should I adjust the sugar amount? Also, do these cookies freeze well?
By the way, have you used coffee and/or chocolate extracts with your baking?
Love your site!
Apr 27, 2014 · 1:31 PM
Hi Priscilla! Hmmmm, I am not sure that the chocolate nibs would work very well. I’m afraid it would alter how the cookies bake and spread. Although, who knows, it might surprise me! I do not think the sugar content would need to be altered, though...The florentines (and scraps) freeze very well, in fact they’re one of my favorites for freezing. You can stir them into ice cream or crumble over cheesecake. So good!
I bought some chocolate extract a million years ago (I was still in high school) and in my memory it was terrible, but that’s not really a fair analysis all things considered. Other than that, I haven’t tried those types of extracts, mainly because it’s so easy just to add espresso powder or cocoa powder. But I can see how they might be nice for preserving a light color in dessert. Have you tried them?
Aug 05, 2014 · 9:31 AM
I’ve managed to locate some roasted cocoa nibs in the UK (for some reason, the raw ones seem to dominate the marketplace) and look forward to trying this recipe when I receive them.
I apologise if I’ve been looking with my eyes closed but I tried to see if you mention whether you use bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour. We don’t readily have bleached in the UK (as you know) but I can heat process flour to achieve a reasonable result. A long-winded way of asking if this is un/bleached so I know whether or not to start preparing the flour.
Aug 07, 2014 · 10:08 PM
Hi Ematters! In the context of these cookies, I don’t think bleached vs unbleached will make a huge difference (though of course cakes are much more sensitive to such changes). Most AP flours in America are bleached, so that’s the standard for all of my recipes, but the protein levels etc aren’t a huge deal for cookies and I don’t imagine this will give you any trouble. If you do wanna give the flour a zap in the microwave, that may level the playing field, but I’m hopeful you’ll have success either way. Hope you enjoy!