"Here's to a Creamy Dreamy Crunchy Sweet February!" caught my eye as I entered the Daring Bakers' Forum this month..
I'm always so excited to see what the host comes up with every month.. I honestly don't know how they do it. I think it would be nerve racking trying to decide on a recipe to be made and enjoyed by so many talented bakers.
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.
I think I've mentioned it before, but Giada has to be one of my least favorite Food Network Stars.. there's just something about her large head, annoyingly small frame and over emphasis on every syllable that really gets under my skin; not to mention that she goes from speaking perfectly American-like to extremely accented Italian terms.. BUT.. the fact of the matter is she always makes amazing dishes.
Like these Lemon Ricotta cookies I made a while back? heavenly.
And now this Panna Cotta? creamily delicious.
To accompany the panna cotta, Mallory also asked us to make a crunchy Florentine cookies and gave us the option of using gelées for a very lovely layering look with our panna cotta.
When I finally got around to making this month's challenge I wasn't content with just plain vanilla panna cotta, and chocolate wasn't cutting it for me either... then I remembered the new jar of Nutella waiting for me in the pantry! Oh yes, I went there..
I had to do a little online investigating to make sure I was doing the layering right and hopefully with everything I learned I can offer a little more insight into everything as well. It was actually quite easy, and although a little time consuming, everyone is sure to be impressed with your presentation.
Nutella Panna Cotta
recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
1 cup whole milk
1 TBS unflavored powdered gelatin (1 package)
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pour milk into small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over top and set aside for about 5 minutes.
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil.
Add nutella and whisk until smooth.
Whisk milk/gelatin into nutella mixture until gelatin is dissolved.
Transfer to ramekins or nice glasses for serving.
*If layering pour about 1/3- 1/2 cup of mixture into each cup and place in the fridge for about an hour before pouring gelée over top.
While panna cotta is thickening, start making the gelée...
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
2 cups brewed coffee
1/4 cup hot water plus 2 TBS cold water
1/2 cup sguar
2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
2 tsp vanilla
Place sugar and 1/4 cup hot water in small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Sprinkle gelatin over 2 TBS cold water and let soften for about 2 minutes.
Stir coffee, sugar mixture and vanilla in a small bowl.
Add gelatin and whisk until dissolved.
*When pouring over panna cotta make sure it is coming cool or it will melt the panna cotta! Once you have your layer of gelee, place back in the fridge for at least an hour.
After the gelee has had a chance to set, pour another layer of panna cotta and place back in the fridge to stay overnight.
They got a little messy, but nothing a little paper towel cleaning won't fix!
From "Nestle Classic Recipes"
Makes about 2-3 dozen sandwiched cookies* I halved the recipe
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup AP flour
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup chocolate or nutella
Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt butter in medium saucepan and remove from heat.
Add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla and salt to melted butter- mix well.
Drop tablespoons full onto prepared baking sheet, flattening slightly with back of spoon.
Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.
Cool completely on cooling racks.
While cookies are cooling, melt chocolate or use nutella, and create sandwiches with your cookies.
Now you have your Creamy Dreamy Crunchy Sweet dessert :)
Another fabulous Daring Bakers' Challenge!