I've got a real gem for you. These vegan florentines are so decadent and elegant they basically scream Christmas. I would seriously recommend them as a Christmas present. They are vegan and absolutely delicious.
200g (7oz) dark chocolate - I used 76% cocoa solids (vegans: check to see if it contains milk)
(*vegan butter is hard block baking margarine that does not contain any animal products such as milk. Stork is a popular brand in the UK as is Earth Balance in the US)
How to make
Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F. Line two baking trays, preferably rimless, with greased baking parchment.
In a dry, small frying pan, toast the almond flakes over a medium heat until slightly brown. Roughly chop the pistachios and figs into quite small dice.
Melt the vegan butter and sugar over a low-medium heat, stirring carefully, until the butter has melted and sugar dissolved.
Put the flaked almonds, pistachios, orange zest, candied peel and dried figs in a bowl. Evenly seive the flour over them and add the salt. Stir this mixture into the melted butter and sugar, making sure everything is coated.
Turn the hob down to the lowest setting. Spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture onto the greased baking parchment. Using your hands, shape it into a circle and flatten it as much as you can without seeing too many holes. Leave space in between each florentine as they expand quite a lot.
Bake for 5 minutes and remove from the oven. If they don't look quite golden brown, leave them in for 1 or 2 more minutes.
Let the florentines cool on their trays for 7 minutes. Carefully take the parchment paper with the florentines off of the baking tray and on to a wire rack. Gently push each florentine on to the wire rack while pulling away the parchment paper in the opposite direction. If they are still too warm and break apart when trying to move them, leave for a few more minutes.
Leave until they're completely cool.
Break up the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl. Pour an inch of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce the water to a simmer and put the heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water, and stir carefully until the chocolate melts.
Gently flip the florentines over so they're face-down on the wired tray. Spoon about three-quarters of a tablespoon of melted chocolate on to each one and spread it with the back of the spoon.
When the chocolate is starting to set, use a fork to make the wavy lines (pictured) on the back of the florentines.
Once they're completely cool again, store in airtight tins in a cool place.