Sunday, February 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies

We had two recipes this month for our Daring Baker challenge; Panna Cotta which means "cooked cream" in Italian and Chocolate Filled Florentine Cookies.

Both recipes were easy to make and didn't require a lot of time. The panna cotta was extremely quick. The gelatin is softened in milk and then heated with cream, honey, and sugar. Once heated, it is refrigerated for 6 hours until firm. Doesn't get much easier than that! I topped my panna cotta with fresh blueberries and thought it was delicious and very creamy.

The florentine cookies were also pretty quick to throw together. All the ingredients are mixed together on the stove. Once mixed, the cookies bake in the oven for about 6 minutes. After they have cooled, they are sandwiched together with chocolate. A yummy oatmeal cookie with chocolate... you can't beat that!

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.

Panna Cotta

1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
pinch of salt


1.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.
2.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).
3.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.
4.Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
5.Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

Florentine Cookies

2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups dark or milk chocolate

Preheat oven to 375°F. 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.

Friday, February 25, 2011

FFwD: Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port

PLEASE do not judge this recipe based on the picture. I made this for Valentine's dinner and we didn't eat until 8pm. That means absolutely NO natural light and also a rushed picture. I mean, it was a romantic dinner... no taking pictures for 10 minutes to make sure I got a good one.

But taste-wise??? Holy moly... so good! The ribs cook for 3 hours in a mixture of red wine and port. Then once they are done, they are broiled for a few minutes and then brushed with orange zest and cilantro. I don't think I've EVER had a better beef meal. It was that good!

Go buy Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan for the recipe. This book won't let you down!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TWD: Toasted Almond Scones

I love scones. I love almonds. I love almond scones! These scones are super almond-y with ground almonds, sliced almonds, and almond extract. Definitely yummy and definitely will be made again!

Thanks to Mike of Living Out West for hosting this week! The recipe can be found at his blog.

Friday, February 18, 2011

FFwD: Pancetta Green Beans

Or in my case, Bacon Green Beans. My grocery store didn't have pancetta so I just went for bacon. I love bacon wrapped asparagus, so I knew it would work well. I made these as a side dish for a Valentine's dinner with my husband. We loved them! I'll definitely be making them again!
Make sure to buy Around My French Table by the fabulous Dorie Greenspan for the recipe!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

TWD: Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

These cookies are insanely chocolatey and insanely delicious! They really are a brownie in cookie form. SO GOOD! They are filled with cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, and oatmeal. I omitted the cinnamon because I am not a huge fan of cinnamon and chocolate together. These cookies were gone quickly here and I can't wait to make them again! LOVED, LOVED, LOVED them!

Thanks to Caroline and Claire of Bake with Us for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at their blog.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Banana Roll with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling

I love making rolls like this. Okay, to be honest, I've only ever made Pumpkin Roll. I've never used another flavor but I make pumpkin roll often enough that it seems like I make cake rolls all the time.

When I saw this recipe over at Ingrid's blog, 3 B's, I immediately bookmarked it. The idea of using banana instead of pumpkin and filling it with a cinnamon cream cheese appealed to me. Plus, I had a couple of bananas that were begging to be used before it was too late! :)

Oh my goodness... this was SO good! I will be adding it to my permanent file and will be making it again.


Banana Roll
Recipe found on 3B's.... originally from Pinch My Salt

Powdered sugar
3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3 eggs
1 C sugar
2/3 C. mashed banana (2 medium bananas)

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar, sifted
6 T. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 C. powdered sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 15×10 inch jelly-roll pan (also known as half sheet pan); line with parchment or waxed paper. Grease and flour paper; set aside. Spread out a clean, thin dish towel on the counter (make sure the towel is larger than your jelly roll pan); sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar (this can be done using a mesh strainer).

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda.

3. In a large bowl combine eggs and sugar; beat until thickened. Add banana; beat until well mixed.

4. Stir in flour mixture into egg mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, easing it carefully to the corners with a spatula.

5. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched.

6. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert cake onto the prepared towel. Remove pan; carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake in towel while hot, starting with 10-inch side. Cool completely on wire rack (will take at least an hour).

7. When the cake is almost completely cooled, make the filling: beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. (Add some cinnamon to taste to kick it up!)

8. When cake has cooled completely, unroll and spread with filling (or your favorite cream cheese frosting) then re-roll cake. Wrap rolled cake in plastic wrap then refrigerate at least one hour (overnight is best).

9. When ready to serve, unwrap cake and place on a platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired (sift the sugar through a small mesh strainer for a nice presentation). Cut into slices.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

TWD: Great Grains Muffins

I had plans of making these muffins yesterday. Then my daughter and I caught a stomach bug and weren't able to eat anything all day. This morning we woke up feeling better but wanted to play it safe with saltines for breakfast. After 3 hours up, we both were craving "real food" and these muffins popped into my head. I can't say that I have ever made a TWD recipe on Tuesday, but hey, there is a first time for everything!

These muffins came together quickly, which was awesome because my body feels weak still and I didn't want to stand for too long in the kitchen. They baked quickly, too! (Only about 13 minutes.)

The muffins are DELICIOUS and super fluffy. They are filled with white flour, wheat flour, cornmeal, oats, raisins, maple syrup, and some cinnamon chips thrown in for good measure. Definitely a great first food after being sick! Maybe that is why "GREAT" is in the title! :)

Thanks to Christine of Happy Tummy for hosting this week! The recipe can be found at her blog.

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