I remember these biscuits being rather popular in the 1970's and feeling quite grown up when I ate them as a child.
I adapted a Karen Martini recipe for these, and had to road test some of the ingredients on my daughter. She didn't like the glace ginger so I took it out.
A tip - this is sticky and messy to make, so much so that it is almost impossible to form a biscuit to put on the baking tin by hand. I scooped spoonfuls into 10 cm metal rings, pressed down and then lifted the ring off.
395 ml condensed milk
250 g cornflakes
150 g unsalted peanuts coarsely chopped
100g dried cranberries coarsely chopped
100g dried apricots coarsely chopped
finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
250 g melted dark chocolate (I used milk to satisfy small children)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line two or three baking trays with baking paper.
Combine all ingredients save the chocolate in a large bowl and mix well.
Press 1 to 2 tablespoons of mixture into 10 cm scone or biscuit cutters and place onto trays. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden and cooked. Remove and when a bit cooler, cool on wire racks.
Spread melted chocolate on the flat back of each biscuit. Leave to set.
They keep for about 7 days in an airtight container.
So why Florentine biscuits? Some say the biscuits are actually Austrian in origin. Another story has it that a master confectioner created them at Versailles, in the kitchens of King Louis XIV of France, in honour of the Medicis of Florence when they visited. Those who are up on their Medici history will recall that Catherine de Medici married Henry, Duke d'Orleans who later became Henry II in 1547. Louis XIV reigned between 1654 and 1715. By this stage the Medici family had waned in power and I think they were quite unlikely to have been visiting Versailles.
In any event, can you imagine that a little cornflakey biscuit would have impressed or delighted the likes of these people? Somehow I just can't see it.
Lorenzo de Medici (1449-1492) by Bronzino
Giovanni (Lorenzo's son, later Pope Leo V) by Bronzino
Guilio (later Pope Clement VII)
One thing my European History studies taught me is that you do not mess with the Medici. They would probably see conspiracies galore in such a frivolous biscuit