Sunday, February 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Honey Panna Cotta and Ginger Florentines

Creamy and crunchy was this month's theme of the Daring Bakers. We were asked to make Panna Cotta and Florentines. I made panna cotta many times before, and really like it for its creamy consistency and easy preparation. As I usually make the original vanilla version, I was looking for something new. I found inspiration at Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert, which has three different versions of panna cotta. I thought the version with honey would go well the florentines, which also consist of honey.

I always wanted to make florentines. I went with the original version with sliced almonds instead of the ones with rolled oats from the challenge recipe. I added crystallized ginger instead of the typical candied orange or lemon. They tasted amazing, especially after dipped in dark chocolate. I will definitely make them again.

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.

Honey Panna Cotta and Ginger Florentines
(adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich)

Honey Panna Cotta

200 ml milk
3 leaves of sheet gelatin
500 ml heavy cream
3 1/2 tbsp. honey
1/2 vanilla bean
pinch of salt

Soak the gelatin in cold milk to soften them. Scrap out the seeds of the vanilla bean. Slowly heat the cream together with the honey, vanilla seeds and salt in a small saucepan until almost boiling. Take off the heat and stir in the sheets of gelatin and the milk.

Let the mixture cool down, while stirring occasionally. Then divide mixture into glasses or ramekins and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator until set, best is overnight.

Ginger Florentines

80 g sugar
60 ml heavy cream
1 tbsp honey
70 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
pinch of salt
10 g flour
100 g sliced almonds
100 g minced crystallized ginger
100 g semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 180ยบ C (350 F). Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Combine sugar, cream, honey, butter, and salt in a saucepan over low heat, and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture starts to simmer. With a candy thermometer check until the mixture reaches 238 F. Remove from heat and stir in flour, almonds, and ginger.

Drop level teaspoons of batter about 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet. Flatten the cookies to a diameter of about 1 1/2 inches. Bake until the cookies are a deep mahogany brown, 6 to 8 minutes, reversing the sheet about halfway through baking.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, but while one batch bakes, you can contine to drop and flatten the batter on sheets of foil. When each batch is done, slide the foil sheet of cookies carefully onto a rack to cool completely before removing the cookies from the foil by peeling the foil gently from under each cookie.

Melt the chocolate over a water bath. Either drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies or quickly drop each cookie in the chocolate to cover the bottom.

Let the chocolate set, then store the cookies in an airtight container.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!

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