Fruit-Nut Florentine Cookie Triangles

Fruit-Nut Florentine Cookie Triangles

Reprinted with permission from Baking for All Occasions: A Treasury of Recipes for Everyday Celebrations by Flo Braker (Chronicle Books LLC, 2008). Copyright © 2008 by Flo Braker.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

As opulent as a Tuscan palazzo, these cookies resemble edible jewels. Cranberries glow like rubies, pistachios evoke pale green jade, and bits of candied orange peel mimic polished amber. Don't let their glamorous appearance fool you, though; these rich, chewy bar cookies are gratifyingly simple to make. Try them for holiday gatherings – or any time you need a lot of beautiful cookies.

Pastry:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounce (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Topping:

1 cup natural or blanched sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 coarsely chopped candied orange peel
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon mild honey
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

Before baking: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready a 10-1/2 by 15-1/2 by 1-inch pan (jelly-roll pan).

To make the pastry: In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture is the consistency of streusel. Scatter the dough over the bottom of the pan and, using your fingertips, press it evenly over the bottom to form the crust. (No need to press it up the sides of the pan.) Bake the crust until set and pale gold on top, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan while you prepare the topping. Leave the oven on.
To make the topping: In a small bowl, toss together the almonds, pistachios, cranberries, orange peel, and ginger to mix. Pour the cream, honey, corn syrup, and sugars, in that order, into a heavy 1-1/2-quart saucepan. Stir to combine, and then add the butter. Place over medium-low heat and stir until the butter melts. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula, until the mixture registers 235 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer and is straw colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Be sure to be diligent about stirring toward the end of cooking to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat and stir in the nut-fruit mixture.

Pour the thick, hot mixture onto the partially baked pastry, and spread thinly and evenly with the wooden spoon. Bake for 7 minutes, and then remove from the oven and spread the now more-liquid topping evenly over the pastry. Return to the oven and bake until golden on top, 13 to 14 minutes. The topping will bubble during baking, but the bubbles will form more slowly toward the end of the baking time. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Using a sharp knife, cut the cooled cookie sheet crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips to yield seven 2- by 10-inch strips. Cut across each strip on the diagonal in alternate directions to yield 5 to 6 triangles per strip.
Stack the cookies between sheets of aluminum foil in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.