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. Surprisingly I’ve never made either the panna cotta or the florentine cookies so I was excited to try them.
I decided to make a white chocolate panna cotta as I like the white color but wanted to add some additional flavor with the chocolate. The end result was a creamy, pudding like dessert. It was pretty tasty. I added my own version of mint-strawberry gelee to give it a tangy, fruit flavor as well. The combination was fantastic and I’ll definitely be making it again.
The florentines were easy to make and really delicious. They are crisp and buttery and I loved the addition of chocolate to the cookies. I went with a trio of florentines, each with their own chocolate; white, milk, and dark. A strawberry garnish on the plates tied these desserts together nicely. I was pleasantly surprised with the results of both.
A Trio of Chocolate Florentine Cookies (recipe adapted from Nestle)
2/3 c. butter 2 c. quick oats 1/2 c. sugar 2/3 c. flour 1/4 c. dark corn syrup 1/4 c. lowfat milk
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. milk chocolate
1/4 c. white chocolate 1/4 c. dark chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. After melted remove from heat. Stir in oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Stir until well combined.
3. Drop by heaping teaspoon onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Flatten each cookie with the back of a spoon.
4. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven.
5. For rolled cookies let cool 1 minute then immediately shape over the handle of a wooden spoon. Move slowly so as not to tear the cookie. (I used 3 different spoons so that each cookie could cool on the wooden spoon.) Let remaining cookies cool on baking sheet. Once cool transfer half of cookies to wire rack.
6. Melt each of the three chocolates in a zip top baggie in the microwave in 30 seconds increments or until cooled. Drizzle white chocolate over one third of cookies. Fill the rolled cookies with milk chocolate. Flip half of the remaining cookies so the flat side is showing. Squeeze on dark chocolate, smooth, and top with with a second cookie. Serve one of each cookie on a plate with garnish.
White Chocolate Panna Cotta (adapted from Bon Appetit)
1 c. lowfat milk
1 T. unflavored gelatin 2 c. heavy whipping cream 1/2 c. sugar 3/4 cps white chocolate chips 1 t. vanilla
1. Pour milk into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top. Set aside.
2. Heat cream, sugar, and vanilla in a medium pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
3. Add in white chocolate and whisk until melted. Continue whisking and add in the milk mixture. Whisk for 2 minutes or until gelatin is dissolved.
4. Pour panna cotta into glasses. I poured half on top of glasses I already had set with mint-strawberry gelee. Refrigerate for 5 hours. Remove and top with mint-strawberry gelee. Refrigerate for an additional 3 hours.
Mint-Strawberry Gelee (a Hezzi-D original)
1 c. strawberries, chopped
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. fresh mint, minced
2 t. gelatin
1. In a saucepan over medium heat combine strawberries, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil and add in gelatin and mint. Boil for 10 minutes then remove from heat. Cool for 15 minutes.
**I made a half recipe and poured into 3 glasses. I chilled for 2 hours then topped with the white chocolate panna cotta. I also made another half recipe 5 hours after chilling the white chocolate panna cotta and topped the remaining ones with the gelee at this time. To serve I sliced a strawberry and placed on top of the panna cotta with a fresh mint leaf.**