Eggnog Florentines

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Behold- a cookie for the serious eggnog lover. And now for some adjectives. These delicate, browned, buttery, lacy, nutty, caramel-ly, thin cookies are then filled with a heavenly, creamy, sweetly spiced eggnog filling. The funny part is that in the list of ingredients, there is no eggnog to be found, a fact that may astonish some people once they taste these cookies. The secret ingredient is hard-boiled egg yolks. Push them through a sieve to get a powdery consistency, then add the usual frosting suspects and some nutmeg, cloves, and a good dark rum to make a heavenly “eggnog” concoction. To take the decadence up a notch, serve these alongside a glass of bourbon or brandy laced eggnog. At one point I was photographing this tasty cookie on the rim of my glass of eggnog, and it fell in. It was the tastiest drowned cookie I’ve ever eaten. What a delicious way to perish- in a vat of eggnog…

adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
makes: 3 dozen

Pecan Florentines
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup pecan halves
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Eggnog Filling
4 large eggs, hard-boiled*
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2- 2 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar (I used a scant 2 cups, and I thought it was sweet enough)

1 tablespoon whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1-2 tablespoon dark rum (I used 1 tablespoon. Can also be omitted)

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Florentines:

Heat the oven to 350. In a food processor, combine the flour, pecans, cinnamon and salt and pulse until the nuts are very finely chopped, about 1 minute. Turn the nut mixture out into a large bowl.

In a small-medium saucepan set over high heat, combine the butter, sugar, heavy cream and syrup and bring it to a boil. Boil the mixture for one full minute, then turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour this caramel mixure over the nut mixture and stir to combine them. Set aside for at least 30 minutes, until it has cooled. Mixture will firm up.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a ½ teaspoon measure, scoop the dough into small balls and place them 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

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Bake until the cookies are thin and golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. They will not crisp until they are cool, so don’t worry if they’re soft.

Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes or so (so they’ll set up a little) then transfer the cookies to paper towels to blot excess oil for a couple minutes. After they’ve been blotted, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack, though they should be pretty cool by now. Wipe any butter off of the parchment before repeating the process with the remaining cookie dough.

Eggnog filling:

Peel the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites, saving the whites for another use. Press the egg yolks through a mesh strainer so that they become powdery.

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Place in a large bowl with butter confectioner’s sugar, milk, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Beat together until smooth, then raise mixer speed and beat until mixture is thick and frosting-like, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rum by hand, if using.

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Spread a dollop of eggnog filling on one cookie, then gently press a second one of similar size on top of it. Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Place them in the fridge to set for 10 minutes before serving, to firm up the filling.

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Do ahead: The dough and the icing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days before baking. The baked, unfilled florentines can be stored in a loosely covered container at room temperature for up to two before filling them. Humidity is their enemy, it makes them stick together. The original recipe says to serve them immediately once they are filled, but they will hold up in the fridge in a loosely covered container (not airtight) for a day or so. (But they won’t be as crispy as on the day they are baked.)

*For hard-boiled eggs, this is how I make them:

1. place eggs and a healthy bit of salt in a pot and cover with 1 inch of cool water
2. slowly bring to a boil
3. once water is boiling, cover, remove from heat and let sit for 12 minutes.
4. place eggs in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
5. peel and use

For some reason I find white eggs are much easier to peel than brown eggs. I’m not sure why, but the brown eggs are a pain to peel, while the shells of the white ones just peel off in big chunks.

 

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