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 and Florentis, from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for Panna Cotta and Nestle Florentine Cookies.
Panna Cotta is nothing new for me and in that sense wasn’t a challenge. I played more with the forms.
Florentines on the other hand, I never ate or done before, so they were sort of a challenge.
Especially because as always, I took a glance on DB Challenge recipe on the beginning of the month, but I didn’t read carefully, so when the time for Florentines came, I realised that I don’t have a dark corn syrup, and I even don’t know what it is, except that it obviously has to be something made from corn.
There is no such thing in Croatia. Or I don’t know for it. And for sure I had no intention to search it.
So, God bless the Google, who say: If your recipe calls for dark corn syrup, we’d suggest using a sugar syrup with a dash of dark treacle or unsulfured molasses, both of which are derived from sugar cane.
So I did. And the Florentines were saved.
For my Croatian readers, if you’ll ever need the dark corn syrup substitute, here’s what I did.
For 60 ml of dark corn syrup, the Florentines recipe called for, I used:
– 20 ml water
– 75 g unrefined cane sugar
Put in the sauce pan, allow melasa to dissolve, boil for a little while, until it became a syrup, and use pretty immediately or you’ll need to dissolve again, because with standing it turns into the caramel.
For the matter of panna cotta I decided to make it in round cake shape, with heart shaped middle, as companion with hand made gift box, designed similar as Panna Cota, I made for Florentines.
For that purpose I have divide the amounts of ingredients for Panna Cotta on half, I have made first, I poured in the mould and cooled it for two hours.
Then I put the small round shape, and a heart shape in Panna Cotta, not to deep, cause I wanted to be able to remove it later.
When you pour the rest of Panna Cotta in the mould divided with shapes, let it cool for a while or it will start to melt your first layer of Panna Cotta and don’t reach the top of smaller shapes. You need a place for your fingers to catch the moulds and pull them out later.
Let it cool again for next two hours.
I choose cranberry lemon jelly for heart and border:
– 250ml cranberry juice
– 200ml sugar
– 150 lemon juice
– 1 package of gelatine or a little less ( in Croatia powder gelatine come in 10g package)
Separate few tablespoons of cranberry juice and sprinkle gelatine over it.
Put the rest of cranberry juice, lemon juice and sugar in the sauce pan, bring it to boil, allow sugar to dissolve, cook for a while, remove the foam if it appears on the top, then remove from the heat and stir the gelatine in it.
Gelatine must not boil, just dissolve it, with stirring in the hot cranberry-lemon syrup. Leave it for a while to cool a bit, so you can pour it on your Panna Cotta without a fear of melting.
Before you pour your jelly over the Panna Cotta remove the shapes, very carefully out of the Panna Cotta. Use a sharp, thin knife just to separate top of Panna Cotta from moulds, move the shapes very gentle and carefully, right and left, and pull carefully out.
And here is the recipe for Panna Cotta and for the Florentines which were mandatory for this month DB Challenge.
Giada’s Panna Cotta
– 240 ml whole milk
– 7 g unflavoured powdered gelatine
– 720 ml whipping cream (35% butterfat)
– 80 ml honey
– 15 g granulated sugar
– a pinch of salt
I was a bit confuse, cause it says Vanilla Panna Cotta, and there is no vanilla in the recipe, so I put quite a lot of vanilla extract in it for flavour and for the colour as well.
Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatine 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 gelatine.
Pour the milk 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. Whisk it few times.
Add the cream, honey, vanilla, 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.
Nestle Florentine Cookies:
Makes about 21 sandwiched Florentine cookies.
– 15o g unsalted butter
– 160 g quick oats
– 230 g granulated sugar
– 95 g plain (all purpose) flour
– 60 ml dark corn syrup (see substitute above)
– 60 ml whole milk
– 5 ml pure vanilla extract
– a pinch of salt
– 250 g dark or milk chocolate
Preheat oven to moderately hot 190° C.
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, 75mm 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 a double boiler, or a bowl that fits a op a saucepan filled with a bit of water (make 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.
You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).
When it comes for Florentines recipe I’m find 1 tablespoon as amount for one Florentine too much. I used teaspoon, cause they have intension to spread out. And I didn’t have way much over 21 sandwich cookie.
Anyway, it was a nice challenge.
We already love Panna Cotta, now we also in love with Florentines.
And they perfectly match together.
I put my Florentines in decoupaged gift box similar to my Panna Cotta.
The Valentine character of February allows hearts.
- 20 ml vode
- 75 g nerafiniranog šećera od trske
- 240 ml mlijeka
- 7 g želatine
- 720 ml vrhnja za šlag
- 80 ml meda
- 15 g kristal šećera
- prstohvat soli
- Stavite šećer i vodu u posudu, pričekajte da se melasa otopi i kratko vrijeme kuha da postane sirup i odmah upotrijebite.
- U suprotnom će se vrlo brzo pretvoriti u karamel, pa ćete morati topiti ponovo.
- Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatine 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 gelatine.
- Pour the milk 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. Whisk it few times.
- Add the cream, honey, vanilla, 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.