The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.
Last month, Streusel kindly took on the Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet, so it was only fair that this month’s challenge belongs to me (although she did admit that she won’t be able to help herself and plans on Panna Cotta-ing soon!)
Having few previous Panna Cotta experiences, I decided to go with the simplest Panna Cotta recipe that was offered. I have to say, it was amazing; thick, creamy and *very* smooth. It not a light dessert, and I would probably prefer fruit, rather than more sweets, as an accompaniment.
Similarly, the Florentine cookies had a great flavor and were simple to make. After slightly burning the first batch, I found myself watching their baking time closely. The Florentines were also delicious, but I think they would work best as a stand-alone dessert, rather than paired with something else so sweet.
Giada’s Vanilla Panna Cotta
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon (one packet) unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups whipping cream (30%+ butterfat)
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
pinch of salt
Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about 5 minutes. (Whisking at this time is good).
Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved, about 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.
Nestle Florentine Cookies
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups dark or milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat
To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
Drop a tablespoon full three inches apart onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slight with the back of the tablespoon, or use a spatula.
Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate until smooth, either in a microwave (about 1 1/2 minutes) or on the stovetop in a double boiler (or in a bowl that fits atop a sauce pan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).
Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment paper and place face down on a wire rack
Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of the cookies, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.