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Florentine Cookie Sandwiches with Eggnog Icing
Recipe adapted from Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Cook Time: 20 minutes
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup pecan halves
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark rum
1. Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, combine the flour, pecans, cinnamon and salt and pulse until very fine, about 1 minute. Turn the flour-pecan mixture out into a large bowl.
2. In a small saucepan set over high heat, bring the butter, sugar, heavy cream and corn syrup to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then turn off the heat, add the vanilla and pour the mixture over the flour-pecan mixture. Stir until completely combined and set aside to cool, about 40 minutes.
3. Use a ½ teaspoon measure to portion the dough into small balls and place them 3 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are thin and golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway through cooking (the Florentines will not set up into hard, lacy cookies until they have cooled).
4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set aside to cool completely before using a metal spatula to carefully transfer the cookies to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
5. Make the icing: While the cookies bake and cool, boil the eggs for the icing. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the eggs, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the hot water and refill the saucepan with ice and cold water. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel and halve the eggs. Pop out the yolks (save the whites for another use).
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until pale yellow and airy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hard-boiled egg yolks, confectioners' sugar, milk, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the texture is thick and frostinglike, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer, remove the bowl from the stand and stir in the rum.
7. Assemble the Florentines: Turn a cooled cookie over so the flat side faces up and spoon a dollop of frosting in the middle (alternatively, use a piping bag fitted with a small metal tip). Top with another cookie, flat-side down, and press to squeeze the frosting to the edges of the cookie. Place the assembled Florentines on a rimmed baking sheet and repeat with the remaining cookies and icing. Chill the sandwiches for 10 minutes to set the frosting before serving.
Make ahead: The dough and the icing can be refrigerated in an airtight container or up to 3 days before baking.
Storing: The baked Florentines can be stored in a loosely covered container at room temperature for up to 2 days before filling. Once filled, serve the Florentines immediately.