Ottolenghi's Almond Orange Florentines

Makes 20-26 cookies
Adapted from Ottolenghi

Vegetable oil
2 cups sliced almonds (without skins)
Zest of 1 orange
2 egg whites, room temperature
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment of silicone mats and brush with vegetable oil.  Fill a small bowl with cold water and set aside.

in a large bowl combine almonds, orange zest, egg whites and confectioner's sugar and gently mix to combine.  Dip your hands in the water and pick up about 1/4 cup of the almond mixture and place on the prepared baking sheets.  Using your hand or the back of a fork dipped in the water, gently flatten cookies.  You want the cookies to be as thin as possible without having gaps between the nuts.  The florentines should be about 3-4 inches across.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the florentines are golden brown all over (cooking time will depend on the size of your cookies).  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely the the baking sheets before removing.

Once cooled, if you'd like to spread chocolate on the bottom of your florentines, melt 7 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in the microwave on 30 second intervals.  Stir until smooth and using a offset spatula or a pastry brush, coat the bottom of each florentine with a thin layer of chocolate.  Place on a rack chocolate side up and allow to set.

Store florentines in a airtight container for up to 5 days.
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