Chocolate-Covered Ginger Florentines

I love all things ginger; the stronger the ginger flavor, the better. I’m addicted to ginger tea; a cold night that does not end with a big mug of it is a very sad thing indeed. There is no better soda than a ginger beer, and don’t even get me started on how fabulous those little ginger chews are. These chocolate-covered ginger florentines are a brand new item on my ginger-vice list. Adapted from Alice Medrich’s cookbook, Pure Dessert, these cookies are natural show-stoppers. I can imagine they would be perfect served with a small bowl of (ginger) ice cream at the end of an elegant dinner party. At my cookie party, these cookies and their sweet caramelized crunch disappeared very quickly.

It takes some patience to make these, since spreading the dough out into thin circles on the baking sheets is a bit of a finicky task. A silicone spatula is really the best tool for this task, and a team of two cooks is better than one. Marta and I were able to form a pretty good assembly line making these and got them done much faster than I would have on my own.

Chocolate-Covered Ginger Florentines
makes about 50 cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs honey
5 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
pinch of salt
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp flour
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Line baking sheets with aluminum foil, making sure to smooth any wrinkles.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cream, honey, butter, and salt and stir over low heat until the butter is melted and the mixture comes to a simmer.
Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 238 F.
Remove the pan from heat and stir in flour, almonds, and ginger.
Drop level teaspoons of batter about 3 inches apart onto one of the foil-lined baking sheets.
Using a flexible silicone spatula, flatten the cookies to a diameter or about 1 1/2 inches.
Bake until the cookies are a deep mahogany brown all over, 6 to 8 minutes, reversing the sheet from front to back about halfway through baking.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, but while one batch bakes, you can contine to drop and flatten the batter on sheets of foil.
When each batch is done, slide the foil sheet of cookies carefully onto a rack to cool completely before removing the cookies from the foil by peeling the foil gently from under each cookie (do not try to lift the cookie off the foil, this will break it).
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in a skillet of hot but not even simmering water.
Stir constantly until two-thirds of the chocolate is melted, then remove the bowl from the water and continue to stir until the remaining chocolate is melted.
Drizzle to tops of the cookies with the melted chocolate.
Let the chocolate set, then store the cookies in an airtight container (or eat them all right up).

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