I tried a new recipe for cookies I’d never sampled before–Florentines. Made with ground nuts and candied orange peel, smeared generously with melted semi-sweet chocolate, they looked and sounded so good, I had to see what they were all about. But how do you know if you’re getting it right, when you’ve never had the cookie in your life? So began the adventure.

I prepped the dry ingredients–chop the almonds in the mini-food processor:

Move almonds to a separate bowl. Now combine the candied orange peel with the sifted flour in the mini-FP as the original recipe’s author recommended. I don’t think it chopped the orange any smaller than it was when I started, as it was already cubed, but sometimes I follow directions. 🙂

Bring the cream, butter and sugar to a boil in a saucepan, remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and add the dry ingredients. Here’s where it got a little weird:

Do you see this? Oh, man, whatthe? MA!!!

(Ring, ring) “Ma? You know those cookies we wanted to try? Well, I made the dough and it looks like oatmeal. Yes, runny like oatmeal. Have you ever made dough like that?” No. We talked it out a bit. Nothing in the recipe mentioned an oatmeal-like consistency, so I was skeptical. But trying ONE COOKIE first, just to see how it turns out–yes, that’s a good idea. Drop by tablespoonful onto parchment. Here we go!

I know it looks all wrong, but it baked into this:

I nibbled. I pondered. Hmm. It was kinda chewy. Was it supposed to be like this? And, really, no salt? Seems to me a little salt and some extra flour would get me out of oatmeal and into the cookie dough I wanted. As my mom suggested, I added flour by the tablespoon till the dough reached the consistency I was after. One-two-three…three. Just like Mr. Owl and the Tootsie pop, it seemed three was the magic number–thus doubling the original recipe from 1/3 cup of flour to 2/3 cup. Oh, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt because sweetness loves a little salt for balance.

I know, I know–it still looks like oatmeal, but trust me when I tell you it felt more normal than the first batch. And because I wasn’t convinced 10-12 minutes was the right baking time, I let my next test cookie bake an extra minute, then another, then another till it reached a full 15 minutes. Is this more like it?

I took a bite.

I think we’ve got it now! Let’s bake a whole pan! Remember, drop by tablespoonful:

And through the magic of 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, we have (ta-daaaaaa!):

Golden at the edges, lightly crispy outside, chewy within, delicious fruity nuttiness (hush, you!)–Katty’s Florentines, adapted from Michelle’s family recipe in the Penzey’s catalog. Right or wrong, they’re tasty. And even tastier when drizzled with fine melted chocolate. Katty’s Kitchen puts the HO in VALRHONA, don’tchaknow? HA HA HA!

I thought a drizzle might be sexier than frosting fo-shizzle, so I melted a chunk of bittersweet chocolate. Adding to my lesson for the day, I quickly learned it’s much easier to drizzle with a SPOON than a FORK. Why, heck, just ask the rabbit at the top of this post! As you can see, he’s holding a ladle because he’s even smarter than I am.

So what’s the final modified recipe?

adapted from Michelle Gesse’s family recipe, featured in the Penzey’s catalog
(thank you, Michelle!)

1⁄2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons salted butter
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 1⁄4 cups almonds, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2⁄3 cup flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup candied orange peel, finely chopped*
2 oz. dark chocolate, melted–but wait till your cookies have baked and cooled before melting and drizzling.

*sending a shout-out to John and Dolly at Middletown’s Public Market for ordering this especially for me!

Follow directions as outlined step by step in my short story (!) above. Allow dough to cool 20 minutes or so, then drop by tablespoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Let cookies rest outside the oven on the parchment about 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Once cookies have cooled, drizzle with your melted chocolate of choice. And use a spoon! Or let a rabbit help you!

And speaking of rabbits…remember the first words you should speak tomorrow–the first day of the month–to ensure good luck in the month to come: RABBIT, RABBIT, RABBIT!