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Ginger-Citrus Florentines

We don't often hear the words "cookie" and "elegant" in the same sentence. I don't know why this is exactly. There are, of course, elegant cookies to be had, but I think we (by "we" I guess I mean "I") consider them among the most playful of sweet things, morsels of sugar and butter, often nubby with nuts and chocolate. They are usually not very pretty, and you rarely find them on dessert menus at fine restaurants.

But this gem of a cookie might just convince you that cookies can be, in the words of Marion Rombauer Becker, "the height of elegance." It is very thin and crisp, lacquered with chocolate on one side, and bejeweled with minced candied fruit. They have a dainty feel about them, but they are no less delightful for being so. In fact, in spite of being such refined sweets, it's almost impossible not to smile while eating one because you are certain to get chocolate on your hands, and each bite sends little shards of caramelized sugar flying.

I like to use candied lemon and orange peel and crystallized ginger for these cookies. I'm sure you could use a wide variety of fruit, though. Just be sure it is chopped up very fine. You can store the batter for these cookies in the refrigerator for several days, but as the batter is stiff when cold, you'll need to roll it out very thin. I do this by sandwiching balls of dough between sheets of parchment and using a rolling pin to flatten them.

Store the finished cookies in an airtight container or tin away from heat, which causes the chocolate to melt.

Other articles you might enjoy: Thumbprint Cookies, Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies, Ginger Gems

Ginger-Citrus Florentines
Makes about 15 to 25 three-inch cookies

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Toss together until the fruit is separated:
           1 1/4 cups packed chopped mixed candied fruit (such as candied citron, orange peel, and ginger)
            1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Combine in a food processor with:
           1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
            1/4 cup honey
            1/2 teaspoon vanilla
            1/2 cup slivered almonds
            1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pulse until the fruit and nuts are about 1/4 inch in size. Add:
            1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Process briefly, until the fruit and nuts are about 1/8 inch in size. Remove to a bowl. Shape into 1-inch balls (I used a 1/2 tablespoon to measure out the dough) and place about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Flatten the balls to 2 1/2 inches. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes. Let the cookies cool slightly, then turn onto a rack and coat the bottoms with:
            4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted


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Okay, I'll be the first to admit it: my initial kumquat purchase was a total impulse buy. I thought they were quite possibly the cutest fruits I'd ever seen.

Being a child of the...