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Weekdays 9am

Melissa Hemsely's freestyle florentines

These fruit-and-nut florentines take just 10 minutes of prep and are the best way to use up any odds and ends of chocolate bars and bags of nuts, seeds or dried fruit.

I make them lots after Christmas and Easter, with ends of Easter eggs and chocolate tree decorations. Think of this as a cupboard clear-out recipe – anything goes! 

If your nuts or seeds are a little stale, give them a toast in a dry pan first. You may as well make a double batch of these as they’ll keep in the fridge for a week and make a lovely gift.

They’d be great in bite-size for a party and you can play around with the flavours – I’ve given you a few ideas below.

Freestyle florentines

Makes 12

Prep 5 minutes, plus setting time

Ingredients

300g good-quality dark or mixed leftover chocolate (or whatever quantity you have) 

1 large handful of mixed flaked nuts, whole nuts and seeds

1 handful of dried fruit, like raisins, sultanas or freeze-dried raspberries or bright green chopped pistachios 

A tiny pinch of sea salt

Optional extras:

A few drops of peppermint extract

A few drops of orange extract

A little orange, lemon or lime zest

A little pinch of ground ginger, cinnamon or cardamom

Coconut flakes or desiccated coconut


Method

1. Put a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl isn’t touching the water.2. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the bowl, allowing it to gently melt. If you’re using an extract or ground spices, add them now.3. Once melted and smooth, cover a tray with parchment and spoon the chocolate into 12 discs on the paper. Roughly chop your whole nuts, but keep the seeds whole, and sprinkle over the top with the raisins or sultanas, sea salt and anything else you might fancy.4. Leave to set in the fridge or pop in the freezer for 10 - 15 minutes to cool and harden up, then transfer to the fridge or serve straight from the freezer – they’ll melt after 10 minutes on a warm day.

Tips

When you don’t know who is dropping by or when, especially during celebratory holidays, this is a fantastic sweet option to keep stored in the fridge, perfect with a coffee for mid-morning or with a glass of fizz at a party.

You may as well make a double batch of these as they’ll keep in the fridge for a week and make a lovely gift. 

They’d be great in bite-size for a party too. 

If your nuts or seeds are a little stale, give them a toast in a dry pan first. 

These are fun to make with children - everyone can customise theirs just the way they like it - for example, you can even add that last handful of granola or muesli to this.

The tiny little pinch of sea salt, I think, is essential, as it brings out all the flavours and the sweetness in the chocolate.

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Weekdays 9am