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
February’s challenge was really easy and delicious. I don’t know why I’ve never made panna cotta before. My teenage children loved it. One ate it for breakfast and the other for an after school snack! Thanks you, Miss Mallory!
I omitted the honey from the recipe and just sweetened with sugar and flavoured with vanilla bean! Served with mixed sweetened berries!
Panna Cotta
Ingredients:

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey, I ommited the honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar, I increased the sugar to 1/2 cup
pinch of salt
1 scraped vanilla bean

Directions:
1.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.
2.Pour the milk (at this point I added the scraped vanilla bean)  into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
3.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 5-7 minutes. I divided the cream and whipped half up to soft peaks and warmed the other half as the recipe states. I let the warmed cream/milk mixture cool before mixing in the whipped cream.
4.Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
5.Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

 

I made the florentines to the recipe except I didn’t have dark corn syrup but saw some pure maple syrup in the pantry and used that instead. I didn’t sandwich the florentines but just drizzled with choc. The florentines seemed a bit sweet on their own but with a touch of dark choc they were perfect!
Florentines
Ingredients:

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

Directions:
Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). 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. 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
3.Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Mine took about 15 minutes to become golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets
4.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).

5.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
6.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).

Check out our host Miss Mallory at A Sofa in the Kitchen and all my other Daring Baker friends who have excelled with the panna cotta and florentines this month!