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January 2, 2013

Clarine’s Florentines

by Anne Paddock

Clarine Hardesty is a pastry chef and owner of Clarine’s Florentines, a Berkeley, California-based commercial operation that specializes in the Florentine:  a delicious mixture of toasted nuts and candied fruit held together by a honey and sugar mixture that hardens and forms a crunchy candy-like delicate cookie. To complete the treat, Clarine’s Florentines are dipped in bittersweet chocolate.

Clarine’s Florentines are made from almonds, sugar, salted butter, bittersweet chocolate, honey, and cream and taste every bit as decadent as the ingredients suggest:  a rich, nutty caramelized disk of almonds with a layer of chocolate on one side. Bite into the almond brittle side first and the crunch is unmistakably almonds or bite into the chocolate side first and taste the bittersweet chocolate followed by crunchy almonds – a combination that is hard to beat.

The florentine is a very popular confection that has been around for centuries and appears to have originated from Europe – although there is disagreement among many of who actually created the florentine. Some say the Italians came up with the recipe while others claim the florentine is a French creation. No matter because there isn’t a patent on florentines and we are all free to enjoy the many variations of this rich crunchy treat.

tasteHistorically, the florentine was made around the holidays but is now available year-round because the cookie has so many attributes that people enjoy: nuts, crunch, and a honey like sweetness with a dash of chocolate. Clarine’s Florentines are available throughout speciality shops in California or through the company website:  Six florentines (weighing 5.5 ounces) are $10 plus shipping or a gift box of 12 florentines is available for $20 plus shipping. Individually wrapped florentines (.75 ounce) are available for $2 each with a minimum order of six.

Clarine’s Florentines
1287 Gilman Street
Berkeley, California  94706

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