I have baked a tray of florentine pastry, and I have spread chocolate on it (dark and milk). It's about 35 x 35 cm. Now I'd like to make cookies out of it.

I know recipes say to cut the pastry when it's still warm, but it was just far too thin and fluid to do so: it would basically have amounted to pushing a knife into almond flakes which are floating in a sauce; it didn't seem realistic at all.

The pastry is nice and crisp and thin now (as thin as I could get it, maybe 3–5 mm), as it should be. The consistency is a bit like semi-hard caramel. but of course with almond flakes over the entire surface (so much less hard, easier to break/cut). How can I best cut (square-shaped) cookies out of it?

I don't think breaking is an option, so it has to be cutting or sawing? I see no option but to use a large kitchen knife. Should I press it down until it snaps? Or should I move it along the length of the desired cut ('sawing')? Should I use a smooth knife or a serrated knife (probably not)? Or is there anything else you can recommend?

I'm afraid I might break the pastry into irregular shards and bits if I do it wrong, but I haven't tried yet without asking you!

P.S. It doesn't stick to the baking-paper much, so that won't be an issue.

P.P.S. You see the orange in the picture which I grated for the zest.

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Epilogue: I ended up cutting them with a non-serrated knife, which I put in a pan of very hot water between 'cuttings', to partly melt the cut (wipe with paper towels in between). I cut by moving the knife up and down the length of the cut ('sawing'), but I did also exert some downward pressure. It worked well enough, except for some breaking at the edges which were not flat at the bottom (because of the uneven baking tray).

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  • Florentines are tricky, I've found it easier to make individual sized ones rather than trying to cut them later, but if you do want to make them as a sheet let them cool just a bit to harden up and then cut them as quickly as you can, the window is short. – GdD Feb 20 at 9:56
  • @GdD: Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe I missed the right window. – Cerberus Feb 21 at 0:21
  • Those look pretty tasty @Cerberus, shape notwithstanding! – GdD Feb 21 at 14:10
  • @GdD: Merci! These are actually the worst one, qua shape.The large majority turned out as nice squares or diamonds. – Cerberus Feb 21 at 16:09

I find that it's easiest to cut fragile, hard things with a serrated knife. I would go with a bread knife and slowly saw though it. In the future, I would recommend waiting until they're slightly set but still warm and cut then instead of waiting until it's completely cooled.

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    Thanks for the idea! I think maybe a very finely serrated knife might work, but I only had a large one with large teeth. I couldn't muster the courage. Up until the pastry was hard, it didn't seem possible to do anything with it at all; but perhaps I should be looking for the right window more closely next time... sawing with a hot knife worked well enough, though. – Cerberus Feb 21 at 0:17

I'm not sure how brittle your recipe is, but if it has a little bit of plasticity, I would try scissors. They will likely produce better cuts. If it is not scissor friendly, a sharp pizza wheel might also do better than a knife.

If you do use a knife, sawing should be better than pressing, less chance of it spluttering under the knife.

  • Thanks for your suggestion! I tried cutting with scissors, but it was too aplastic, it broke. Pizza wheel might be nice, if I had one. I sawed with a plain knife, which worked well enough where the bottom was flat (because one does need to exert some pressure). I used a hot knife (put in a pan of water between cuts). – Cerberus Feb 21 at 0:17

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