Sunday, February 27, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge: Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies

Valentine's Day Supper ~ Part 4

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.

Aren't those candy hearts cute? 

Finally we come to the dessert course of our Valentine’s Day Supper! We had the Panna Cotta and Florentine cookies that were this month’s Daring Bakers challenge.  It was the perfect end to our meal. I did not want to have quite so many sweets in the house, so I cut the recipes in half. The following recipes reflect this change. 

For the Panna Cotta you could choose the vanilla or chocolate version. Since it was Valentine’s Day I made the chocolate version. I have not worked a lot with gelatin, so I made a fairly major mistake when making this. I was only supposed to heat the gelatin for a few seconds or so, I ended up heating it for about a minute or so. That made the panna cotta quite thick. Quite Thick. It was tasty, but it was wrong. Really it is a very easy recipe and I would try it again. I just got carried away.

Chocolate Panna Cotta (Adapted from Bon Appétit)

Recipe adapted to serve two.

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cups whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/4 cup sugar
2.5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/4 teaspoon 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

To go with the panna cotta we were to make Florentine cookies. I have never made or eaten this type of cookie, but the recipe is quite simple. I used light corn syrup because I did not have dark corn syrup in the house and I was not going to buy it when such a small amount was needed, especially since I cut the recipe in half. Also, I decided to use some of the leftover frosting from my niece’s birthday cake as the filling. I thought that it worked quite well as a filling. I think I made the cookies way too big, but they were good and went well with the panna cotta.

Florentine Cookies (Adapted from Nestle)

This is a half recipe of the original with my changes noted.

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cups quick oats (I used thick oats and wizzed it in a food processor.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup plain (all purpose) flour
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/8 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2/4 cups dark or milk chocolate (I used a delicious chocolate frosting.)

Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.

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.
Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

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).

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).

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 1 – 1 1/2 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).


  1. You're absolutely right: The perfect end of a Valentine Day's Supper! And the candy hearts are the perfect decoration for the Panna Cotta - doesn't matter if it has been too thick, the main point is that is has been tasty!

  2. I love those little hearts in the Panna Cotta! This was a perfect dessert for Valentine's Day.

  3. What a perfect Valentine's dessert! Sorry the panna cotta wound up so thick, but glad it still tasted good. Really great work on this challenge.

  4. SO cute those hearts in the panna cotta and I love the glasses also the cookies are spot one. Wonderful work on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  5. I like your chocolate panna cotta! Yum!

  6. You did so well with this challenge. Both desserts look wonderful and I'm sure they are delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  7. Those little hearts on your panna cotta are so cute. I may have to try the chocolate version soon since so many seemed to like it!

  8. It seems that it took a lot of time to assemble everything. The pairing sounds divine. And I could eat Florentine cookies by the dozen :-]