Feb 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies

panna cotta 1

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.

panna cotta 4

I’ve missed the past few Daring bakers challenges for one reason or another.  But I am so glad to be back.  I was extra excited when I saw that this months challenge was something that I’ve never made or even tried before.  I decided to try the chocolate version of panna cotta that was given, and wanted to pair it with my favorite compliment to chocolate – strawberries!   I also thought the chocolate panna cotta would go better with the florentine cookies.   The panna cotta reminded me of a mix between ice cream and pudding.  The ingredients were very similar to an ice cream base and the final result was more like a pudding.  Overall, the end result was smooth and creamy deliciousness – which was the intention of this challenge. 

It was slightly more difficult to make the layered version of panna cotta, since you had to harden the layers in the fridge before you could add on the next layer.  And the hard part is that you need to try to portion out the mixture to ensure that you still have enough to top these off.  It ended up taking a few hours to harden the bottom layer (and I left the extra panna cotta and strawberry gelee on counter).  So when I was ready to add the next layer those were still liquid.  But with a little planning ahead – you have a beautiful and delicious dessert.

panna cotta 2

The florentine cookies were about as easy to make as they get.  And even though they spread out really thin in the oven – they were still soft and chewy in the centers.  They were a really great snack throughout the week.  

Be sure to check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see the other fun varieties of panna cotta they came up with this month!  And thanks to Mallory for hosting this month!

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Chocolate panna cotta

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Strawberry gelee

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) strawberries (or other fruits - raspberries, mango, blackberry, etc. DO NOT use pineapple or kiwi)
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin

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 milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups dark or milk chocolate


Chocolate panna cotta

1. Pour milk into a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside for 2-5 minutes.

2. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil.

3. Add chocolate and whisk until melted. 

4. Whisk the milk and gelatin mixture into chocolate cream mixture. Whisk until gelatin has completely dissolved.

5. Transfer to ramekins, or nice glasses for serving.  Cover and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.   [Note: If layering with gelee – only chill bottom portion and keep remaining at room temperature until layers are set]

Strawberry gelee

1. Sprinkle gelatin over water.

2. Place fruit and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer until sugar has dissolved.

3. Mix the gelatin into the strawberry mixture and stir until gelatin has dissolved.

4.Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature until use for layering panna cotta.

Florentine cookies

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan or microwave.

3. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.

4. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches apart, onto your prepared baking sheet.  Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

6. While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave, or stovetop in a double boiler.  Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.

Source: chocolate panna cotta from Bon Appetit, gelee from A Soft in the Kitchen and Florentine Cookies from Nestle

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  1. You panna cotta looks beautiful and I am sure it tasted great. Welcome back to the challenge!

  2. Yum, I want to try making the chocolate version too. Yours looks delicious

  3. Your layered panna cotta looks stunning well done and I love the flavour profile perfection. Great work on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  4. I originally intended to do the fancy layering like you did, but what the heck?! Such a pain in the bum. Oh well. Yours looks delicious! I bet the chocolate with the strawberries was perfect. Hope you had people over to appreciate your hard work.