These are sometimes called Florentines, but I have always known them as "Lace Cookies". Though I've always loved them, they are not always easy to find and for some reason I never thought to make them myself. I always thought they must be really difficult. Uh. Not so much. I've veganized a recipe I found on the Food Network and let me tell you - not difficult AT ALL. A little time-consuming, but not difficult. Make these, impress the hell outta everyone, and delight in the fact that you made these simple and elegant cookies.
Vegan Lace Cookies
1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds (about 5 ounces)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegan cream (I actually used soy creamer)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
5 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the nuts, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.
Put the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Set aside until cool enough to handle, 20-30 minutes. It is easiest to form if it is still warm, but not hot.
Form the dough into small balls (teaspoon size makes a big enough cookie - honestly) and place onto a parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheet while you preheat the oven to 350. You can only bake one sheet at a time, really I've tried two and they don't bake evenly - so it's easiest to form all the balls at once. You can lay them out on some parchment - it helps save time and aggravation because once the dough cools it gets harder to make the balls (they sort of crumble apart).
You really do need to space them far apart - they spread like crazy. But if you have a mishap, don't worry - it's easy to fix, but you must be quick.
When you take them out of the oven, if you see any that have spread into each other, just grab a knife and push them apart, reforming a nice circular shape. They are still very pliable while hot so you have about a minute to accomplish this. If you wait until they cool you'll just crack them. So be quick!
After a minute, take them off the parchment and cool fully on racks. My advice is not to try to lift them off the cookie sheet with a spatula, they are too thin and it's easy to ruin them this way. Instead simply peel the parchment away from them - they pull right off.
You can leave them as they are - they are awfully nice this way.
OR you can get all crazy with yourself and add some chocolate. Either drizzle some over the tops, dip one end, or my personal favorite: drop a teaspoon of melted chocolate onto one cookie and sandwich it in with another. The chocolate spreads and does a little poke-out from the 'lace'. Very indulgent. Very delish.
You know you want to. Chocolate + almonds = yummy yummy heaven. So go for it.