Panna Cotta & Florentine Cookies – Here’s to a Creamy Dreamy Crunchy Sweet February!

Daring Bakers
February 2011

Hello to all my lovely fellow Daring Bakers out there! I’m Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. First off, I have to admit to all of you that I have been incredibly nervous to host this challenge! I’m not entirely sure why, exactly. Perhaps I was worried I would choose the wrong dessert, something you would all abhor, or that I may lead you astray with the recipe I chose. That being said, I’m incredibly excited to be hosting our February challenge. We’ll be making something that I think is oh-so February *cough* and Valentines *cough* appropriate. Panna Cotta. Creamy desserts are definitely on the top of my favorites list. Silky, smooth, and downright dreamy. I especially adore Panna Cotta because it’s simple, low on the ingredient list, and can be dressed up to pair with any season or holiday.

Download the printable .pdf file HERE!

It’s fancy enough to serve on a Holiday, yet, laid back enough to whip up for a weeknight dinner with friends. I’m going to give you a base recipe, one I’ve used for quite some time now that has been no fail for me. But Panna Cotta is pretty simple, and because we’re daring bakers, not daring “whisk-then-chillers”, I’m also going to challenge you to bake a batch of Florentine Cookies as well. This pair, creamy Panna Cotta and caramelized chocolaty oat cookies, is a dream team made in heaven. I want you to have fun with the Panna Cotta, play with flavors, make a fruit or coffee glee, layer it, keep it in a pretty glass or unmold it. Most of all I hope you all enjoy the sweets I have in store for you this month! – Thank you to Lis & Ivonne for asking me to host, and thank you to all you bakers out there for letting me be your challenger this month! I look forward to seeing what you all come up with!!

Recipe Source: I’m going to be completely honest, I’m not the biggest Giada De Laurentiis fan, but I adore this simple recipe of hers for Panna Cotta. It’s well reviewed, simple, delicious and has been my go to for quite some time. I hope you enjoy it.…

Blog-checking lines: 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.

Posting Date: February 27, 2011

Note: A few tips.

  • First, when you sprinkle your gelatin over your milk, be sure that it’s a thin even layer of gelatin, no clumps. When you heat it up after it’s soaked a bit, you’ll be less likely to get any lumps of gelatin in the finished product.
  • Second, if you would like to unmold your Panna Cotta from a ramekin simply run a knife along the edge, dip the ramekin in a bit of hot water, then invert onto your serving platter. Viola! Unmolded Panna Cotta. (Be aware though, Panna Cotta is not Jell-o, it’s got a much softer texture so it does not keep its shape in the same way as Jell-o)
  • If you cannot find powdered gelatin/only have access to sheet gelatin this can be used. Please follow the directions on the package for conversions.
  • Milk substitutes, such as skim, almond, or even coconut milk can be used in the vanilla Panna Cotta in place of the whole milk, but cream is important. In order to get the right texture there needs be a certain percentage of cream fat! There are lower fat recipes out there that use yogurts in place of milk, but the recipes I’ve chosen are full fat, sorry guys!!
  • The Florentine cookie and chocolate Panna Cotta are quite sweet, maybe too sweet for some. To lessen the sweetness factor consider using a dark chocolate, or bittersweet in both recipes. In regards to the Panna Cotta, I would reduce the sugar to 1/4 or 1/3 of a cup, and perhaps pair it with a more bitter element like coffee gelée or a tart fruit.

Mandatory Items: Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies

Variations allowed: If the vanilla does not appeal to you, I am also giving you a recipe for chocolate Panna Cotta. You have a choice between the two. However, the vanilla can be modified, I generally add vanilla bean, you could also add a bit of matcha (powdered green tea), or fruit. Speaking of fruit, I’m going to give you one recipe for strawberry, and another for coffee gelée, essentially homemade Jell-o. Gelée can be poured on the bottom, top, or layered in with your Panna Cotta (though it takes a few extra steps to do this). So make the vanilla or chocolate recipe, but feel free to play with this it. I just want you to start with a base recipe. What you top it with, or garnish with is also up to you. Have fun, and get creative. In regards to the cookie, if you want to add nuts, or use a different chocolate, go for it.

Preparation time:
•20-25 minutes to prepare the Panna Cotta – at least 6 hours to chill
•20-25 minutes to prepare the cookies 6-8 minutes to bake

Equipment required:
•Small mixing bowl
•Two medium sized heavy bottom pot or saucepan
•Wooden spoon and/or whisk
•Glasses or ramekins – something to pour and serve your Panna Cotta in
•Measuring cups
•Measuring spoons
•Silpat or wax paper or parchment paper
•Baking sheet
•Small bowl

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


  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.

Hope you love it!

Chocolate Panna Cotta

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
½ cup (115 gm) (4 oz) sugar
¾ cup (145 gm)(5 oz) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) vanilla extract


  1. Pour milk into a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside for 2-5 minutes.
  2. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil.
  3. Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk the milk/gelatin mixture into chocolate cream mixture. Whisk until gelatin has dissolved.
  4. Transfer to ramekins, or nice glasses for serving.
  5. Cover and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight

Nestle Florentine Cookies

Recipe from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipes”, and their website.

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.

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
  2. 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.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. 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).

Note: The next two recipes are just examples – If you want gelée to go with your Panna Cotta, feel free to use them, or find other gelée recipes to use. Smile

Coffee Gelée

Adapted from this recipe in Gourmet Magazine

2 cups (480 ml) good quality brewed coffee
1/4 cup (60 ml) hot water + 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cold water
1/2 cup (120 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (3½ gm) (1/8 oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract


  1. Place granulated sugar and 1/4 c. hot water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over 2 Tablespoons cold water and let it soften 2 minutes or so.
  3. Stir the coffee, sugar, hot water, and vanilla into a small metal bowl, add gelatin mixture and stir well until gelatin has dissolved. If pouring over Panna Cotta, be sure that this mixture is no longer hot, it will melt Panna Cotta if it is, let it come to room temperature.

Fruit Gelée

Recipe by Mallory

1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) fruit (strawberries, raspberries, mango, blackberry, etc.)
*Note: Certain fruits interact with gelatin and stop it gelling like pineapple and kiwi etc.
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (3½ gm) (1/8 oz) unflavored powdered gelatin


  1. Sprinkle gelatin over water.
  2. Place fruit and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer until sugar has dissolved. Now mix the gelatin into the strawberry mixture and stir until gelatin has dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool (close to room temp, again, if you’re planning on layering on pouring on top of your Panna Cotta, a hot mixture will also heat up your chilled Panna Cotta).

Additional Information: I’m going to send you to a few websites to check out their beautiful pictures, inspiration as to what you could do to garnish/play with your Panna Cotta a bit, so check them out!

Desserts for Breakfast : Honey, Lavendar & Pomegranate Panna Cotta

Cafe Lynnylu: Panna Cotta w/ Coffee Syrup

Tell Me What You Saw (flickr) : Honey Jelly Panna Cotta

A video showing you how Panna Cotta is made (not our exact recipe mind you)

*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking” ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. Please consult your physician with any questions before using a product you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile

Panna Cotta: Food Network; Florentine Cookies: Nestle
Panna Cotta: Giada De Laurentiis; Florentine Cookies: Nestle
User offline. Last seen 4 years 34 weeks ago. Offline

Joined: 09/14/2010

I had so much fun during this challenge! I made mine with some yogurt and not full cream. Also used the “slanting” technique with some blackberry coulis. Was delicious and so easy! Thanks Miss Mallory!
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