National Dessert Day + Florentine Chocolate Bars

Last Thursday, October 14th, was National Dessert Day.  To celebrate the day, I baked several things:

 

Chocolate Pecan Biscotti • Carole Bloom – intensely chocolate
 
Florentine Shortbread bars • Fine Cooking Magazine
 
Lemon Drop Cookies • my recipe
 
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes • my recipes

The Florentine Shortbread Bar were “sick”.  These bars are so good, that I couldn’t decide it they were a cookie, a candy or a pastry.  They were  all that, wrapped into one.  I love a good Florentine cookies and have been known to make Rose Levy Beranbaum’s from time to time.  I think it is the caramel aspect of it all.  Caramel is my 5th food group.  So, if I see caramel anything on a menu I am sure to order it.  Finding a recipe with a caramel element, is no different.

In honor of National Dessert Day, I salute all of you chefs, bakers, home cooks, cookbook authors, and fellow food bloggers who continue to inspire me and motivate me to get into my kitchen pretty much seven days a week!

Enjoy these bars!

Chocolate Drizzled Florentines


Ingredients

for the dough
14 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups ( 1lb. 5oz.) all-purpose flour

for the topping
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbls. light corn syrup
7 oz. unsalted butter
3/4 cup honey
1 cup heavy cream
17 oz. sliced blanched almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup chopped dried apricot
3 oz. each semisweet chocolate + bittersweet chocolate

Instructions

make the dough:
• in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, zest, sugar, and salt and beat until light and fluffy.  add the egg, scraping down the side of the bowl after mixing.
• add the flour, in three batches, mix until well blended.
• form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  chill for 1 hour.
• preheat oven to 350*.
• line a jelly roll pan with heavy duty foil.  butter the foil and set aside.
• between two pieces of parchment, roll the dough to 1/4″ thick.  remove the top layer of the parchment from the dough and flip it into your prepared pan.  once in the pan, remove the second sheet of parchment and with your fingers or with the palm of your hand, spread dough so it evenly rests inside the sheet pan.  make sure to get it into the corners of the pan.
• chill until firm.
• lay a piece of parchment on top of the chilled dough.  set a second jelly roll pan on top of the parchment lined dough (this is a better method than using pie weights) and press gently.  the second sheet pan acts as a weight, creating a very even crust when baked.
• bake for 20 minutes and then remove the foil and the sheet pan and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
• cool completely on a wire rack.

for the topping:
• in a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil.  cook until the mixture becomes amber in color.
• the recipe in the magazine says 350* on your candy thermometer.  yet, I found that cooking it until about 315-320* was perfectly amber in color.  my was starting to smell “burnt” at this point, so I removed it from the heat.
• carefully add the butter and the honey, return to heat and stir until dissolved.
• bring the mixture back to a boil and carefully add the heavy cream ( it will bubble and this is very hot sugar, so be careful not to burn yourself).
• boil the mixture until it reaches 250* on a candy thermometer.
• remove from the heat and stir in the almonds and dried apricots.
• quickly pour the hot caramel over the cooked baked sugar cookie crust.  spread mixture evenly with a greased, off set spatula.

• bake until the top begins to bubble, about 20-25 minutes.
• let cool completely. once cool remove from pan and cut into desired size pieces.
• set cut Florentine bars on 2 parchment lined cookie sheets.
• melt both chocolates on top of a double boiler.  once melted add about a tablespoon of corn syrup. 
• fill a pastry bag fitted with a very small tip, with the warm chocolate.  pipe chocolate onto cookies in whatever pattern you desire.
• set on wire racks so chocolate can set ( you may have to stick in the fridge for a bit).

The Urban Baker / SusanSalzman.com

Showing 24 comments
  • Maria
    Reply

    I will enjoy these bars, thanks:)

  • Jeannie
    Reply

    Hmm I would certainly enjoy the bars, if I could get my hands on them! Looks so yummy!

  • marla
    Reply

    I actually made a giant b’day cake this weekend. I respect bakers so much. From the pros to domestic divas, baking requires true patience & skill. These bars look great & I too LOVE caramel 🙂 xo

  • Debbie B.
    Reply

    Had no clue national dessert day existed! It’s going on my calendar for next year! The desserts look awesome.

  • Jennifurla
    Reply

    These are gorgeous, the layers are “sick” lol, love that word.

  • ~Lisa~
    Reply

    Oh my! They’re all amazing. Do you take orders? National Dessert day is my kind of day (-=

  • Kim
    Reply

    Love these bars, they look so good!

  • Shirley @ Kokken69
    Reply

    Wow, I didn’t know that there is a Nwtional Dessert’s Day! The bars look really good though I wish you could have given us a closer look at it to salivate over :)….

  • Zoe
    Reply

    like the way you made Florentine into bars…look very modern and nice. Love your photos…very pretty

  • Cathy @ ShowFoodChef
    Reply

    Oh, these bars look sticky, crunchy, chocolaty – I can’t wait to try these. Just gorgeous.

  • Paula {Salad in a Jar}
    Reply

    Wow, you made all those things in one day?? I’m impressed.Blogher sounds like a lot of fun too.

  • The Urban Baker
    Reply

    Hey lisa – funny you should ask. I am in the process of developing a frozen dough product line! however, your baked goods are quite spectacular, if I do say so myself!

  • ♥peachkins♥
    Reply

    these bars are fantastic

  • Angie's Recipes
    Reply

    That’s my favourite type of cookies! The nuttier, the merrier!Angie

  • Patricia Scarpin
    Reply

    These are luscious, Susan! Actually, each and every dessert looks amazing – how would you feel about moving to Sao Paulo? 😉

  • The Urban Baker
    Reply

    Patricia – I have entertained the idea of moving to lots of places. But, Soa Paulo is on my bucket list as a place I would love to visit! You and I need to talk! xx

  • Mary
    Reply

    Okay, those shortbread bars have my name ALL over them! So making those!!!!!! Yum!Mary xoDelightful Bitefuls

  • Lisa
    Reply

    What a fun way to celebrate by baking up so many delicious goodies. From your description of them, those bars sound amazing.

  • naomi
    Reply

    I love Florentines, so I can’t wait to give this a go. They look fantastic!

  • blackbookkitchendiaries
    Reply

    what a pretty bar:) full of flavors and texture. thank you for sharing.

  • Carolyn
    Reply

    Dang! I missed National Coffee Day and now I miss National Dessert Day??? Who is in charge of informing us of these very important holidays???Well, you certainly did the day justice, with those bars. Oh man, they look delicious.

  • Stephanie Meyer (Fresh Tart)
    Reply

    All those beautiful bars on one day – lucky family! And the pics – instant craving, yikes 🙂

  • Eliana
    Reply

    Hmmm – thanks so much for sharing this recipe. They look amazing and sinfully delicious.

  • M.
    Reply

    wow! you do know how to celebrate the dessert day!all recipes sound mouthwatering!

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