BiteClub, Cookies, Holiday Cookie Contest

Florentine Bar Cookie Recipe

These chewy, shortbread bars have a wealth of nuts and dried fruits that beat the pants off fruitcake.

Florentine Cookie REcipe
Florentine Bar Cookie Recipe

By Jill Richardson (inspired by Sunset Magazine)
This Florentine bar cookie recipe is not just fantastic tasting it is a jewel box to look at. It has it all, a perfect balance, rich buttery shortbread crust with sweet and tart dried fruit and almonds on top. I only make it once a year and no matter how busy have not missed a year since I discovered this recipe. They are always on my cookie plates I give to neighbors and friends at the holiday.

Ingredients
1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 egg plus one egg yolk
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
12 ounces sliced almonds
1/2 cup raisins, finely chopped
1/2 cup tart dried apricots (we prefer Blenheim), finely chopped
1/2 cup tart dried cherries, finely chopped

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream salted butter with 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and egg yolk and beat to combine. Gradually add flour and mix well (dough will be very soft). Transfer to a floured 16- by 11-in. parchment paper. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough to same size as parchment. Trim any overhang, then transfer dough (on parchment) to a large rimmed baking pan. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven (leave oven on) and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together unsalted butter, remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, honey, and cream. Cook mixture, stirring frequently, until it registers 250° on a candy thermometer. Remove pan from heat and stir in almonds, raisins, apricots, and cherries.
3. Using a spatula, gently spread warm topping over shortbread. Bake until topping is caramelized and almonds are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; while still warm, cut into 2-in. squares. Cool completely.
This bar cookie is not just fantastic tasting it is a jewel box to look at. It has it all, a perfect balance, rich buttery shortbread crust with sweet and tart dried fruit and almonds on top. I only make it once a year and no matter how busy have not missed a year since I discovered this recipe. They are always on my cookie plates I give to neighbors and friends at the holiday.

Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.

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