Sunday, February 27, 2011

February 2011 Daring Bakers Challenge

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.

I was so excited when the challenge was announced. We were having a bit of a snow day, and I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand for the cookies! I whipped up a batch that very morning. The photo above is my son enjoying the "fruits" of our labor! The cookies came out pretty well, and I even practiced making them into a bowl to potentially make the panna cotta into or unmold it into a cookie bowl. Florentine cookies are not the type of cookie that my family particularly enjoys, but they are ok. I put Nutella in them because I thought we were out of chocolate. And because Nutella is yummy.

I didn't make the panna cotta until the evening of the 19th. We were going to take it to the in-laws for after church lunch the next day to say thank you for helping with Miles' birthday party. As a last minute thing we had to leave the house for a good bit of the afternoon when I was planning to make the dessert. Needless to say I was more rushed than I'd planned. Making the actual panna cotta wasn't too hard. I was nervous about layering, but I really wanted it layered. I ended up making the panna cotta, putting most of it in the freezer, then making the gelee right away. I covered the left over panna cotta with a cloth to keep it from getting a skin. When the panna cotta was set, I covered with the gelee. Set that and finish with the last of the panna cotta. I started with some chopped strawberries. Apparently they float though. In the end you couldn't see the strawberries at all. I thought they would look really nice. If I were to try again, I'd put only a little panna cotta over the strawberries, cool, more panna cotta, cool, then the gelee and the last of the panna cotta.

The dessert was really good. I'd recommend covering in plastic wrap before cooling, and probably each time just to be sure. It had nice presentation, even without the strawberries showing. The taste was good. I don't love gelatin desserts, but it was good. I made the Florentine cookies to take too. This time they didn't hold their shape at all, and were really greasy. I did run out of quick oats and use a little less than half a cup of rolled oats. I'm not sure if this is what caused the problem. All in all it was a good dessert, but not of the style I prefer.

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