Sunday, February 27, 2011

Daring Bakers' Challenge: February 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.
Florentine Cookies
First off, the Florentine cookies were awesome, especially the second day.  I used Laura's trick and just sprinkled semisweet chocolate chips on top of the warm cookies and then spread them around a bit with a knife as they melted.  It worked beautifully.  I was really glad I used my Silpat for this one.  The recipe is here.  I did end up using golden syrup instead of corn syrup, though, because I realized that's all I had.  Anyway, I would definitely make these again.  This recipe is great if you're in need of cookies now, because the butter is melted in a saucepan, not creamed, so you don't have to wait for butter to soften and the cookies only take about 8 minutes to bake.  However, if you don't have a large household, I would halve the recipe.

Panna Cotta- I covered the tops with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming

Unfortunately, I won't make the panna cotta again.  Granted, I just made the base recipe and not one of the gelées, because I'd never had panna cotta before and wanted to know what it tasted like without extra stuff on top of it.  I'm glad I only made 1/3 of the recipe and even divided that into four servings instead of two, because even I think half a cup of heavy cream per person is just too much!  I didn't have any problems with it setting up (it was actually very firm), which was a concern raised on the comments for the recipe on the Food Network page.  The comments also suggested not making the panna cotta for people who aren't fans of honey.  I like honey, but I thought that the recipe would have been better with sugar instead, because it basically tastes like (and is) gelatinized whipped cream with honey instead of sugar.  In the interest of full disclosure, the panna cotta actually made me feel really ill.  

In other news, Paul and I had a successful antiquing day yesterday--I'll post some of my finds later this week.  Stay tuned!


  1. Well, at least you got a cookie out of it.

    I cut the recipe for the cookies in half--I agree that the full recipe is too much unless you are having a party or something.

    I'm glad I saved you time with melting chocolate, too.

    And, I also agree about the panna cotta. I just couldn't even bring myself to buy the cream.

  2. Laura-
    I admit I halved the recipe, as well--I only have one Silpat! I think the panna cotta really needed the tang of yogurt, like your variation, to offset the cloying sweetness of the honey. Part of the reason I reduced the panna cotta recipe was that I was too tight-fisted to pour 3 cups(!) of heavy cream into something that I'd never tried.

  3. I divided my panna cotta into two glasses (so about 8+ oz each) because that was all I had. My fiance ate the whole thing and felt very sick afterwards. Oopsie! Your cookies look delicious!

  4. Your florentines look devine - I like the trick of spreading chocolate chips on the warm cookies - beats getting out the piping bag! I wasn't a fan of the creamy part of the panna cotta, although the gelee did help to give contrast and make it not so overwhelming.


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