I cannot believe how fast this month has flown by. Really. My Dad always teases me about how fast time seems to go, always saying its like the down-hill slope of a rollercoaster. One second you are at the top, looking out over the scenery, enjoying the peace. The next second you are hurtling down towards the ground screaming your head off. Well, I may not be screaming, but time definitely is going by really fast. Most time a whole day seems like an afternoon. It doesn’t help that the only thing I want to do is sit on the floor and laugh and squeal and play.
|Hey, hold still while I climb over you, ok?|
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.
Seriously, how have I never made panna cotta before now?!?! I’ve always heard about it, seen it on other blogs, but never thought much about it. I can’t even begin to guess what was going on in my head, how I could have passed this by. This stuff is awesome!
Pure velvet in the mouth, its just soo smooth and creamy. I want to eat it every single day. This is the kind of dessert where you take tiny little hummingbird sized bites, to savor every single second of eating it.
I am dead tired of winter now, and in a pleading homage to spring, I chose to make lemon panna cotta with blueberry sauce, but apparently I completely lost my brain and forgot to strain the sauce, so it had a bit of a chunky texture to it. My parents said they rather liked it because it was such a textural difference from the panna cotta, but I think when I do it again I will strain it to make it at least a little smoother. I cannot wait to make this again!
Lemon Panna Cotta with Berries
2 meyer lemons or 2 small lemons
2 3/4 cups whipping cream
1/2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
2 tablespoons sugar
Squeeze enough juice from lemons to equal 1/4 cup; reserve 1 lemon rind. (I apprently didn’t read this step correctly and I zested my lemon rind. It turned out fine, so you can choose for yourself whether you want lemon zest or to remove the rind later for ultra smoothness!)
In medium saucepan combine 2 cups cream, the vanilla bean pod, the reserved lemon rind, and the 1/2 cup sugar.
Heat over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.
Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place remaining 3/4 cup cream in small bowl; sprinkle with gelatin.
Let stand 5 minutes for gelatin to soften.
Stir softened gelatin into saucepan; return to medium heat and cook until gelatin is dissolved.
Stir in the 1/4 cup lemon juice.
Strain to remove vanilla bean pod and lemon rind.
Scrape the vanilla beans from pod.
Stir vanilla beans into gelatin mixture.
Divide among four 10-ounce or six 6-ounce custard cups.
Cover; chill at least 4 hours or until set.
In medium bowl combine the berries of your choice and 2 tablespoons sugar; let stand at least 5 minutes, stirring twice.
Serve in custard cups topped with strawberries or dip bottoms of custard cups into hot water for 10 seconds and loosen sides.
Unmold onto dessert plates; serve with strawberries.
The second part of our challenge, Nestle Florentine Cookies, I honestly completely fogot about until two days ago when I sat down to write this blog post. To the kitchen!!!
These cookies are great! They are kind of like a fancy chocolate chip cookie. Crunchy and chewy at the same time (not even sure how that is even possible!), lots of great chocolate, and a wonderful base flavor. They are fun little sandwich cookies to make, and were very easy to whip up.
Nestle Florentine CookiesRecipe from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipes”, and their website.Ingredients:
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) dark or milk chocolateDirections:
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 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).