When I first opened the pages of Gesine Bullock-Prado’s cookbook “Sugar Baby” I’ll admit the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Oh she’s used her famous sister Sandra Bullock’s name to get a book deal.” But not long after I realized this was the passion project of someone without any formal training who turned what she love into a successful business, someone who truly loved baking. Someone who was funny, and authentic.

I was hesitant to try out her recipe for Florentiners a la Mama because it has German roots and involves a candy thermometer and anything that has German roots and involves a candy thermometer requires precision.
And sometimes, due to circumstances out of my control (*cough, cough, my toddler*), I can’t be precise with timing when I’m cooking or baking. But I barrelled ahead anyway and made these cookies. (You can find the recipe here). And boy am I glad I silenced my inner critics.

These are the best cookies I made this holiday season, possibly all year. Buttery, crunchy morsels of pure indulgence. These aren’t the easiest cookies to make – they spread and can go from not-ready to burnt in a matter of seconds. But they are worth all the trouble. I wish the photo I took was better but please take my word anyway. I’ve made florentines in the past, but this recipe trumps that one, by far.

Substitutions: None (just be sure to use parchment paper, not wax paper as I’ve done in the past with another similar recipe – epic sticky failure).

Would I make this again? Oooooh yes, even though these cookies lure me over to the danger zone and I can’t. Just. Eat. One.

Grade: Five stars out of five. Indeed, they are a bit tricky to make, but they are gorgeous and catch the light. Oh, and they’re over-the-top delicious. They’re the kind of cookie you make for friends but decide to keep for yourself.