I’ve recently discovered more food-related blogs than is good for me. I like to browse them, see what other people are cooking around the world and pick up inspiration.
And then I discovered the Daring Kitchen. This is a blog with a difference – each month we are all challenged to make a particular recipe. This month was my first Daring Bakers Challenge, and I’ve actually done it! I’m so excited.
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.
I had a practice run of the Panna Cotta last weekend at the valley, a delicious vanilla panna cotta, with a coffee gelee. And then separately I practiced the florentines, here in Bruntsfield. They were lovely, but hadn’t spread properly and it felt the recipe should have had some bicarbonate of soda to make them work. Never mind, my colleagues loved them.
So, the final version is a chocolate panna cotta, with orange gelee; accompanied by orange florentines. It all looks pretty tasty, and if you like bitter chocolate and orange together then you’ll love this.
I slightly adapted the recipes. And hope the next challenge is slightly less fattening. I suspect I hope in vain.
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
Nestle Florentine Cookies
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) golden 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.
1. Warm the butter, sugar and syrup in a medium saucepan. Stir together to form a gloopy thick syrup, then remove from the heat.
2. To the melted butter mixture add oats, flour, milk, vanilla, and salt. I also added 1 tsp bicarb of soda. And replaced the vanilla with the grated zest of two oranges. 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. I didn’t bother flattening the mixture and they managed to spread themselves out nicely enough.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool 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).