December 16th, 2020


Today I share the final recipe in my festive series. This is a sweet little treat for gifting or having on hand to serve after a holiday meal. The florentine-inspired caramels are super rich so I do suggest cutting them into smaller pieces to share.

This will be my last recipe post for 2020. My children finish school today so it is time to take the creative cooking hat off for a few weeks (I created and photographed about 120 new recipes this year!) and enjoy a sweet break with my family. I am looking forward to simple barbecue meals (especially if our oven isn’t fixed soon – see below) and lots of juicy summer fruit as our garden starts to kick into production. I will be back in January 2021 to share another year of seasonal recipes with you all.

As always, thank you for being here – whether it’s been a few weeks, months, or the 16 years I have been sharing recipes online. And for the continued support of my cookbooks, calendars, and cooking workshops. Next year is going to be a big one for me with a new cookbook in the making – more on that later!

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season. Nicola x

Florentine Caramels

These florentine caramels are the result of my oven unexpectedly playing up this week. Hopefully, it is an easy fix (no oven over Christmas wouldn't be fun), as it isn’t exactly the oldest oven. Although it does get used somewhat frequently to test 120+ new recipes each year. So for now, I am getting creative with the stovetop and barbecue.
Servings 18 Makes
Prep Time 30 minutes


  • 1/3 cup (50g) dried cranberries or glacé cherries, halved
  • 1/4 cup (40g) mixed peel or crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup (40g) sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup (50g) roasted hazelnuts or walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (50g) ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 80 g butter
  • 1/4 cup 50g sugar
  • 2 tbsp (40g) mild honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 200 g quality dark chocolate


  • Line a tray, that will fit into the freezer, with baking paper.
  • Combine the dried fruit, nuts, ground almonds and ginger in a bowl. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, honey and salt over a low heat. When the mixture begins to bubble, set a timer for 5 minutes and cook until thickened, stirring regularly. Check that the caramel has reached "soft ball" stage by dropping a small amount into a glass of ice-cold water. Scoop out the small ball from the water and squeeze between your fingers. If it is ready it will be pliable and moldable. If not, keep cooking for another 1-2 minutes and test again.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the caramel and stir to combine. Drop tablespoon rounds onto the lined tray. Transfer to the freezer to set for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, then remove from the heat. Line another tray with baking paper.
  • Remove the caramels from the freezer. Spoon tablespoon amounts of the melted chocolate onto the second tray. Quickly place a chilled caramel onto the melted chocolate and press gently to spread the chocolate out to the sides. Repeat with the remaining chocolate and caramels. Place the florentine caramels into the fridge (or freezer if in a hurry) to set for 1 hour, then transfer to a sealed container.
  • These are best kept in the fridge, so they don’t melt and will keep for 2 weeks.

Join the Conversation

  1. Sandi MacMillan says:

    OMGOSH these sound delicious. Going to add these to my gift jars 🙏 Merry Christmas Nicola. Hoping you have a joyous and safe break, and some well deserved down time with your family. Looking forward to what you have in store for 2021 ……. plus a new book!!! Sounds exciting! Take care
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Sandi, oh they are! Making another batch to eat on Christmas day they are so good.
      Thank you for your good wishes and I look forward to what 2021 may bring. Writing a book is no small feat and I also have another long term project slowly simmering away. Exciting times.
      Happy holidays and thanks for your support.

  2. Sharon Martin says:

    Hi Nicola I was wondering whether stem ginger could be used instead of crystallised. Also if the fruit caramel mixture could be set in oiled (mini) muffins tins.
    Thanks very much Sharon

    1. Hi Sharon, thanks for checking in about this. You could use stem ginger, just make sure it is well drained first. I haven’t tried setting the caramel in muffin tins so can’t be sure how easy it would be to get them out – grease them generously would be my recommendation. Enjoy!

      1. Sharon Martin says:


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