Cranberry and Orange Florentines

florentinesI have started feeling very festive all of a sudden. I guess it must be due, in part, to decorating the tree today. This was accompanied by the crashing overtones of Handel’s Messiah, not directly Christmas-y, but, being choral, it puts me in the festive mood nonetheless.  Having resisted the descending season with some effort for the last few weeks– even with the repetitious Christmas playlist pounding its way into my head at work – it now seems time to embrace the inevitable.

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I made the optimistic, blasé resolution way back in October to make edible Christmas presents this year. I already have the Rhubarb and Ginger Gin in the bag, along with some Quince Cheese, but need to supplement it with something else. I decided to take the plunge with Florentines, which I have never attempted before. More to the point, I’ve only ever eaten a nice on one occasion. I managed to eat a total of about ten in small little ‘tastes’, which I assured myself were for quality control purposes.

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I underestimated just how many I would need (due to, unfortunately, having lots of friends and family to give them to) and the amount of time it would take to make around 100 Florentines. They are basically simple, but anything made in a large quantity gets a bit stressful, and you end up staring around slightly manically, covered in bits of whatever it is you’re making. I kept leaving trays of cooked Florentines around the house to cool, then forgetting about them. The tipping point came for me when I’d thought I’d finished, only to find a rogue batch on top of the washing machine a few hours later.

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Banana, Pecan and Caramel Cake

Banana Cake

My job involves being around cake for eight hours a day. Apart from the occasional bit of cheeky ‘tidying up’, I try not to give in to temptation and eat any. If started eating cake at work, it would be an inevitable and terrifying downward slide into obesity.

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However, I do get the occasional particularly intense craving to eat some cake myself, rather than just seeing it pass under my nose to a customer. Luckily, this craving was well timed, as it coincided with a tea party. I took the photographs when the cake was at its photogenic best – after having travelled in the back seat of my car for twenty minutes, the icing had started to slide off and the carefully arranged pecans had dislodged, making it look much less appetising. But it still tasted good, if I do say so myself.

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This cake is a nod towards a ‘healthy’ cake, if any such thing exists. It started off well, with fruit and nuts, but then I decided to add caramel icing. I was going to be abstemious and leave off the icing, but I’ve got a bit of a thing for homemade caramel. So maybe not that healthy after all.

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