Recipes·Star Baker

Sweet and Spicy Buffalo Florentines

Caramel and cayenne pepper take centre stage in Star Baker Stephen’s Signature Bake during Caramel Week

Caramel and cayenne pepper take centre stage in Star Baker Stephen’s Signature Bake during Caramel Week

(Geoff George / The Great Canadian Baking Show)

This rendition of Florentines, a European classic, adds a little heat to the sweetness of the toffee-like biscuits with cayenne pepper and hot sauce, as well as an earthy, nutty taste with crunchy black sesame seeds.

Starting with a caramel-y base that’s baked to a delicate lacy texture, these thin and crisp cookies also bring together chopped almonds, cashews and chocolate to balance the spiciness.

Stephen’s Sweet and Spicy Buffalo Florentines were his Signature Bake during Caramel Week in Season 5 of The Great Canadian Baking Show, earning him the title of Star Baker.

Sweet and Spicy Buffalo Florentines

By Stephen Nhan


  • ½ cup (43 g) sliced almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup (57 g) cashews, toasted, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp (18 g) black sesame seeds
  • 1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2½ tbsp (36 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper-based hot sauce
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp (124 g) granulated sugar
  • Toasted black and white sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 2 cups (340 g) milk chocolate


Heat the oven to 350 F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Combine the almonds, cashews, black sesame seeds, flour, cayenne pepper and salt in a bowl. Set it aside.

Melt together the butter, corn syrup, cream and hot sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, increase the heat to medium-high and heat to a rolling boil.

Stir in the nut mixture. Working quickly, scoop the dough into 24 scant tablespoon portions, placing them on the prepared baking sheets. Using the dampened backside of a spoon, press the dough to flatten slightly. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are a dark caramel colour. 

Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Dip a 2-inch-round cookie cutter in water and cut the cookies into uniform rounds. Allow them to cool and harden.

Temper the chocolate according to the brand specifications. 

Flip each cookie over so the flatter side is facing up. Brush half of the surface with chocolate. Working quickly, sprinkle a strip of the toasted sesame seeds over the chocolate. Set aside until the chocolate has set.

Makes 24 cookies


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