Sunday, February 27, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge Feb 2011 - Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies

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 Laurentis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I was pretty happy when I saw this challenge as it looked easy and I reckon it should not take too long to complete.  February has been a busy month for me on a personal level as I was away a couple of weeks celebrating Chinese New Year with my family abroad:)  Hence, I only had time to complete this challenge yesterday (on the other hand, do not want to miss this challenge as well) as I must say it was a cool and breezy one and thanks to Mallory.   I have made panna cotta before (as per my previous postings) but not the florentine cookies.  We were given several recipe choices which included layering the panna cotta with jelly (which I intend to give it a try one of these days as it is something I have not attempted before) but due to the time factor I opted to make something simpler.  The end result was a chocolatey heaven - chocolate panna cotta with chocolate filling florentine cookies - yummy!  Recipe as below - enjoy trying...

Chocolate Panna Cotta
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7gm) (1/4 oz) unflavoured powdered gelatin
2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/2 cup (115gm) (4oz) sugar
3/4 cup (145gm) (5oz) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon (2 1/2 ml) 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
Recipe from the cookbook "Nestle Classic Recipes", and their website
2/3 cup (160ml) (150gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
2 cups (480ml) (160gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
1 cup (240ml) (230gm) (8oz) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160ml) (95gm) (3 1/3oz) plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (360ml) (250gm) (9oz) dark or milk chocolate

Preheat oven to moderately hot 375F (190C) (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 (75mm) apart, on to 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.  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 stove top (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).

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