(posting this late due to an encounter with a nasty inner ear infection that has rendered me useless until now to even hit “publish” on this post I had ready to go for Sunday. My posts might be few and far between for the next little while as I recover.)
I have to admit this month’s Daring Bakers confused me a little. Panna cotta? Sure. Florentines? Sure. But together? Not really a combination I would have thought of but was happy to try panna cotta again and florentines for the first time.
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 decided to follow the recipe given for panna cotta (a Giada de Laurentiis recipe from Food Network) because I wanted another “go to” recipe for plain panna cotta. I have made this dish a couple of times with great results using a recipe from the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers but it’s always good to have another up your sleeve and I was curious to see how it turned out with honey at the sweetner. As I am wont to do, I made only half the recipe and found it hard to halve the amount of gelatin (I used powder) so fear I might have been a little heavy handed on the gelatin. These were a little gelatinous and I found them a little on the sweet side – I like my panna cotta fairly plain, tarting them up with a coulis or sauce or fresh fruit. In any case, I would make them again, maybe using slightly less honey and slightly less gelatin
I served them with a florentine recipe I found on The Brave Tart. The recipe given on the Daring Kitchen site was for a recipe using oats, which I have never heard of in a florentine cookie (and I admit to being disappointed because I had a set idea in mind for this cookie!). I headed over to Epicurious’ online dictionary, to see what they had to say:
Though Austrian bakers are credited with inventing these cookies, their name implies an Italian heritage. They’re a mixture of butter, sugar, cream, honey, candied fruit (and sometimes nuts) that is cooked in a saucepan before being dropped into mounds on a cookie sheet and baked. The chewy, candylike florentines often have a chocolate coating on one side.
Ah yes, right. The Brave Tart’s recipe sounded more like the real deal and her photos were so enticing, I couldn’t help but try the recipe out. My florentines did not get as thin as I would have liked but they certainly tasted fabulous. The only change I made was to use slivered almonds instead of pecans, as I had them on hand.
Next time, I think I would need to work quicker with the hot mixture as it needs to get in the oven soon after you put it on the parchment. I dilly dallied around a bit too long, methinks.
I loved in the original recipe, The Brave Tart says “Please do not under any circumstance throw away the scrappy crumb type bits! You must save them, in a zippy bag, to sprinkle over ice cream or possibly breakfast cereal. You will thank me for this reminder someday.” I followed her advice and saved some crumbly bits for the tops of the panna cottas I served in little French yoghurt pots.
This was a fun challenge and showed me I can make florentines at home. Easily. Danger Danger Will Robinson!