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.
As a little girl, whenever I used to visit my grandmother in the winter, she would take me to a specific Deli in New Jersey which was known for its fabulous selection of cookies. My usual pick was the Florentine, so I was very excited when I first read this month's challenge because it has been years since my last bite!
While my attention was focused on the Florentines, the Panna Cotta was also a pleasant surprise. This dessert is rich yet still very light and so smooth. It pairs very well with the sweet and crunchy Florentine.
Chocolate Panna Cotta
adapted from Bon Appetit
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
½ cup sugar
¾ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
½ teaspoon coconut extract
Pour milk into a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top (no need to stir at this point), 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.
adapted from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipes”, and their website
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 whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, and then remove from the heat. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
Drop a teaspoon full, three inches apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your spoon, or use a spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets. If you would like to shape your cookies then take a cookie cutter or a small glass and make an imprint in the cookie about 2 minutes after removing from the oven. Once completely cooled you can then break away the ragged edges and save those delicious extra bits to serve as a garnish for another dessert!
While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave or stovetop. Take the cookies from baking sheet and place face down on a wire rack 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.