February 28, 2011
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 am late posting my DB challenge this month. Truthfully, the date just crept up on me until I realized it was the 27th, and I didn't have many of the ingredients I needed.
A quick search of the cabinets showed me that I could make the Florentine cookies, but I'd have to run to the store to make the Panna Cotta. Luckily, I was able to con my husband into being my errand boy. He' s so sweet. Most days:)
Anyway, once I was elbow deep in the baking challenge, I almost threw in the towel with the cookies. I started out by halving the recipe, because I didn't need a ton of buttery cookies sitting around on a Monday. Things were going well...until I forgot to half the amount for the last couple of ingredients. So that led me to a mad dash of dumping in another half of the first few ingredients, trying to even everything out. Are you following me? Have I confused you yet?
Well, somewhere along the way I must have messed something up, because my Florentines turned out thicker than I believe they are supposed to be. I decided to go with it anyway, and just dipped and drizzled a few with chocolate, instead of sandwiching them. They turned out OK.
The panna cotta was an experiment that turned out a lot better though. I substituted liquid chai concentrate for the milk, and the result was a smooth, creamy, spicy concoction that was very yummy. Since I pretty much ruined the cookies, I tried to salvage my pride by layering the chai panna cotta with a honey jelly - the layered effect was inspired here. I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself for the visual effect, even if the cookies were blah:)
(adapted from Kitchen Wench)
1 2/3 cups cold water
1/3 cup strongly flavored honey
3 tsp powdered gelatin
Chai Panna Cotta
(adapted from Giada De Laurentis)
1/2 cup cold liquid Chai concentrate (I used Taco)
1 1/2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
pinch of salt
For the Honey Jelly: Pour the water and honey into a pot, and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Set aside for 5 minutes, then cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it begins to come to a boil and the gelatin is dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
For the Chai Panna Cotta: Place the chai concentrate in a cold pan and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Set aside for 5 minutes. Now cook the chai mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until the gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Do no let the mixture boil. Combine the cream, honey, sugar and salt, then pour over the gelatin mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey and sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot, but not boiling, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
~ Divide half of the honey jelly between 4 glasses. So you will pour about 1/8 of the mixture into each glass. Carefully place the glasses in the fridge and chill for 30 minutes - 1 hours.
~ When the first layer of honey jelly is set, carefully pour 1/8th of the panna cotta mixture into each glass, over the honey jelly. Carefully place back in the fridge for 30 minutes - 1 hours to set. Repeat with a layer of honey jelly, followed by the panna cotta. When completed, you should have 4 layers, alternating honey jelly and panna cotta. Place back in the fridge for the final layer to set.
When ready to serve, remove from fridge and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Enjoy!