I can't believe that, considering I had this month's challenge done and dusted right at the start of the month, I didn't manage to post my results on time! It's been a busy month, and we're off to the UK on Saturday and there's still so much to get done...
I did manage to complete both elements of the challenge, although not at the same time. It was actually very straight forward, I didn't really have any trouble with the recipes (apart from trying to throw things together in a hurry, and I should know better by now).
I made the panna cotta for my MIL, and went with the vanilla recipe provided. I made a chocolate syrup and poured it in the bottom of each glass (not easy to see in the photos, I should have used a white background!), poured the vanilla panna cotta over the top (got a few bubbles around the edges) and decorated with melted dark chocolate.
The only thing I changed in the recipe was the vanilla pod - at 600 yen for one, I went for the much cheaper option of using vanilla extract! I also halved the recipe, as there were only a few people to eat the dessert, and cream here is far too expensive to waste (not that there would have been any left over, they went down a treat)!
Giada's Vanilla Panna Cotta
1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
- Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin 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 gelatin.
- 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. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
- Next, add the cream, honey, 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.
I didn't enjoy these florentines as much as the ones from home - made with oats they had a rather porrige-y flavour - but once I'd sandwiched them together with some melted chocolate they reminded me of some biscuits sold at Ikea (Gilles?), oh my, they were gooood...
Nestle Florentine Cookies
2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate
Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). 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, three inches (75 mm) 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 the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being 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.
This recipe will make about 2 1/2 - 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).