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.
So, here's what you need to know about Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies:
1) You will love it.
2) You will not respect yourself in the morning.
3)The hour you spend hoofing it on the treadmill will not even come close to accounting for the calories you will consume in one bite of this amazing dessert.
4)When you combine heavy cream and any form of sugar, there is a chemical process that takes place that creates a substance in desserts that is very, very similar to super glue. That glue makes all things stick to your ____________________(you can fill in the blank with your problem area..butt, hips, thighs, cankles, etc..).
5)This dessert is so absolutely worth it that you will for get about #1-4.
So, as you can tell, what I'm getting at here is this is seriously sinful stuff. No, you don't want to have it every night. But, make it for a dinner party, a girls night or make it for your sweetheart when you're having a date night at home. Its quite impressive when served in fine crystal glassware or even in individual ramekins. Its the perfect dessert for special occasions or holidays.
I will say upfront, the cookies were suppose to be spread with chocolate and sandwiched together. Honestly, after looking at the 2 cups of heavy cream in the panna cotta.... I just couldn't do it. But, if you're fearless and have no problem with the fact that your pants may not fit tomorrow. Well, then you go for it! But, even without the extra chocolate they were excellent. If you want the cookies to stand up for plate decor and be extra crisp, place them in the fridge after they've had time to cool.
Chocolate Panna Cotta:
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
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. Whisk the milk/gelatin mixture into chocolate cream mixture. Whisk until gelatin has dissolved.
4. Transfer to ramekins, or nice glasses for serving.
5. Cover and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Nestle Florentine Cookies:
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups dark or milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)
Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
2. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
3. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flaten slighty with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
5. 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).
6. Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire wrack 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).