February 27, 2011

Creamy Dreamy Crunchy & Sweet: Daring Bakers' Challenge

February has been a busy month - with a little travel, meeting new friends, new foods & new adventures!  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. Though making Panna Cotta is not new for me, I was excited for the opportunity to make the dessert again, playing with different flavors. When we decided to have a few of our friends over last weekend, it seemed like a perfect day to get the challenge done. And as always, it is so wonderful to have friends for dinner who are willing to be a part of my kitchen experiments!

For this challenge, I made a Coconut - Cardamom Panna Cotta with a Blueberry Coulis. For the panna cotta, in addition to the cream and sugar, mine is a vegetarian version with agar instead of gelatin. I also added about a cup of coconut milk and a couple of pinches of cardamom when the cream was cooking. In hind-sight, the flavor was not strong. Our friends could make out the coconut only after I mentioned it and the cardamom was kind of lost. Next time, I will have to use equal amounts of coconut milk & cream. Also, I started making the dessert only around 3 pm for a 7 pm dinner, that led to a little bit more anxiety. I added more agar than needed, which made the panna cotta a little bit more heavier than what I think it should be. I would have preferred a little bit fluffiness in it. No questions about the deliciousness of the dessert though :) 

For the topping I made a blueberry coulis, with heating together blueberries and sugar. The color was so beautiful. 

And finally for the Florentine cookies, I used almond meal, left out the oats, and added a lot of lemon zest. Can any dish go wrong when it has copious amounts of butter & sugar caramelized together with more delectable ingredients? They turned out to be perfect - a little chewiness from the honey, and crunchiness from the brown sugar + butter. I made two dozens of these for the 6 of us and none was left at the end of the evening!

The recipes for the Panna Cotta & Florentine Cookies can be accessed from the pdf posted here.


  1. They look really nice with the pattern. The florentines look really nice and lacy too.

  2. Beautiful pattern. yummy.

  3. Wow, this looks amazing! I'm new to cooking and just found out I have Celiac disease, which means I can't eat wheat. I didn't see that you used any flour in the recipes; are these really gluten free? Woohoo!

  4. Dear Sca, Thanks! The panna cotta doesn't have any flour in it, so you should be fine on that. But the florentine's do have flour in the original recipe. However, in my version I didn't use flour. I am sure there are other recipes for gluten-free florentines. Cheers!


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