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.
This months challenge was quite easy as although I'd never made florentine cookies before, panna cotta was nothing new to me. It's challenges like these however, that show me how many kitchen tools I take for granted, a strainer for example: I don't have one!!! (who doesn't have a strainer you say? quick recap: recent move to Canada, living on dorm, don't cook that much outside of the school kitchen...you get the drift...interestingly, I do have a silicone mat) So when my chocolate panna cotta still had teeney tiny bits of grainy chocolate in it, I couldn't pass it through the sieve before pouring it into the containers to set, resulting in and unpleasant mouthfeel. Given that a college budget paid for the ingredients however, I (and my roommate) DID eat it, afterall, it tasted great!
My florentine cookies didn't come out as crisp as I anticipated and I suspect that that's because I didn't use enough butter, but they tasted great and I used them to sandwich nutella.
Chocolate Panna Cotta
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
½ cup (115 gm) (4 oz) sugar
¾ cup (145 gm)(5 oz) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) vanilla extract
- Pour milk into a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside for 2-5 minutes.
- Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil.
- Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk the milk/gelatin mixture into chocolate cream mixture. Whisk until gelatin has dissolved.
- Transfer to ramekins, or nice glasses for serving.
- Cover and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight
Recipe from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipes”
2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate
Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). 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 (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your 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 your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan 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 and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).
- Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.
This recipe will make about 2 1/2 - 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).
Until next time ;-)