Feb 27, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge: Panna Cotta and Florentines

First and foremost I LOVED THIS CHALLENGE! It was so fun and inspirational.  The hardest part of this challenge was deciding what flavors and combinations to make!
Originally I wanted to make SA the panna cotta and Florentines for Valentine's day, but life got in the way and I ended up procrastinating on the panna cotta.
The first Florentines I made I ended up opting to skip the chocolate and instead used melted cinnamon chips between the two cookies.  AMAZINGLY good.  Buttery, cinnamony and crunchy, some of my favorite traits in a dessert.
Cinnamon Florentines
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) cinnamon chips
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 cinnamon chips 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). 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 cinnamon on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the cinnamon.

Then we had a little dinner get together.  It was completely on the fly and I just served soup so I decided to really impress with the dessert.  It was time to bust out the panna cotta.
I ended up making a coffee scented cinnamon panna cotta with dulce de leche and white chocolate Florentines.  I wanted them to taste like caramel macchiatos.  I think I succeeded and they were well received by the friends we had over.

Coffee scented Cinnamon Panna Cotta
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon (one packet)  unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
8 coffee beans or 1 tsp. instant coffee granules

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.
Pour the milk and coffee beans or granules 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.
Next, add the cream,cinnamon, 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.
Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.
For the panna cotta I simply layered it with a layer of dulce de leche at the bottom, panna cotta and then more dulce de leche on top. For homemade dulce de leche please use this recipe.

Blog-checking lines: 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.


Poires au Chocolat said...

Looks lovely, especially when plated up! Good job :)

Audax said...

WOW that 1st photo is inspiring so beautiful and your last photo is so smashing I love the plating. Well done and glad to hear that it was so well received by all at the dinner. And the flavour combination is spot on.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Rochelle said...

Cinnamon must have been perfect with those florentines! I'll have to remember that when I make them again :)

shelley c. said...

Ooooh - cinnamon for the florentines was totally inspired! And the complementary panna cotta? Amazing. Great photos, beautiful desserts, and wonderful job on this challenge.

Jennifurla said...

awesome, I must say your combination is my most favorite so far. Great job. Great plating too

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Mmmm - they look beautiful!

Ruth H. said...

I love the caramel macchiato inspired panna cotta and florentines! And those cinnamon sandwiched cookies sound FABULOUS!! Please can I come over next time you make those?! :)

Raina said...

Wow! Two amazing looking recipes. I have never made panna cotta or these cookies. They both look so darn good. I will have to try them soon. Beautiful presentation too. Your friends must have been thrilled:)

Tia said...

simply gorgeous. nice job this month! Buttercreambarbie

Irvin said...

Cinnamon chips sounds fantastic! And I love the plating! and mmm. Dulce de leche! That must have been SO good with the panna cotta! I adore dulce de leche.

Catalina said...

I love your served Panna Cotta - looks so professional :) The cinnamon flavour must be true heaven (I considered using it, too, but I changed my mind and used vanilla instead, so next time I'll try cinnamon!). Great job on this challenge!