February 27, 2011

Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Mocha Panna Cotta with Fleur de Sel Caramel and Florentine Cookies

panna cotta 6

In any area of interest, there are always those complex terms that describe something simple, culinary arts included. You’ve got sous vide—basically boil-in-a-bag, except fancier. Tempering eggs—kitchen speak for “whisk like mad so they don’t scramble in your custard.” Panna cotta—pretty much the cooler, Italian equivalent of pudding. Which brings me to this month’s challenge.

florentine cookies 2

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, which left me excited to no end. For starters, panna cotta has always been a dessert that I’ve wanted to try. Then there’s the fact that it is so, so versatile when it comes to flavorings.

While the initial challenge specified vanilla or chocolate panna cotta, I could not resist making it my own and scouring the internet for a recipe that somehow involved coffee. Happening upon this one from Baking Obsession made all my caffeinated dreams (of which there are many) come true with the addition of a salted caramel sauce on top, to cut the sweetness of the creamy goodness underneath.

glass fill 1glass fill 3glass fill 5glass fill 7glass fill 8

After whipping all this together (read: it took me two days), I not only found myself with a new spark of inspiration vis-à-vis all panna cotta matters, but also a shell-shocked sweet tooth. Suffice it to say that the combination of the mocha panna cotta and those thin oatmeal cookies, sandwiching a layer of melted chocolate, was quite a blow. In my next attempt, I think these two items will be kept separate, because it was difficult to fully enjoy each of them paired together. In fact, the sugary combination sent me running straight to a tin of sour cream and onion Pringles, such was my need to balance the overpowering sweetness.

panna cotta 5

That being said, I would highly recommend trying either of these recipes on their own, as both are quite yummy, especially the Florentine cookies. As previously mentioned, panna cotta is a revelation in itself—deliciously creamy and smooth—and will definitely be making more appearances in my kitchen and my tummy. If you’re interested in any more information about the particulars of this month’s challenge, you can, as always, check out the info at The Daring Kitchen.

panna cotta 3


  1. Awesome click on wonderful dessert

  2. I had this peculiar experience with Panna Cotta. For years, I never got to try it because if I ordered it in a restaurant, they had either run out or they misheard and brought me something too tempting to send back. Your version looks like an absolute delight. I love the presentation and all the different textures and flavours involved.

  3. Beautiful presentation. I love the flavor combinations too. This looks great for a party!
    Great job!!

  4. It's too bad they were too sweet together because they look fantastic! I love the pouring shots!

  5. Looks delicious and I especially like the fleur de sel/caramel touch on top of the panna cotta. It sounds divine!

  6. Woahwoah, that looks delicious. I wouldn't mind a potta panna cotta (forgive me, I'm tired) for a bedtime snack. Creamy coffee + caramel + a bit of fleur de sel = heaven.

    Your florentines look great too. They suit the square ... and the chocolatey drizzles. They definitely suit the chocolatey drizzles. I really love the pic of the biscuits - you must be enjoying your new camera. :)

  7. I'm drooling just looking at the panna cotta being poured into the glasses-beautiful shots! Your flavors sound so delicious, great job on this challenge!

  8. Wow looks fabulous and wonderful flavors... Absolutely love it. Great work on this challenge. Love the caramel on the top.


  9. @Priya's Feast: Thank you!

    @Hester: How funny! I hope it was well worth the wait in the end. :D

    @Evelyn: Thanks!

    @Maggie: Thank you! It was a pretty funny setup behind the scenes in my kitchen. :D

    @Susi: Thanks! I'm becoming increasingly enamored with all this fleur de sel business.

    @Cupcake: Thank you! :)

    @Suzler: A potta panna cotta would make an awesome bedtime snack! hehehe And yes, yes, a thousand times yes, I am very much enjoying the new camera. :D

    @chef_d: Thank you! Coffee/caramel has always been a favorite yummy combination for me.

    @Pavithra: Thank you!

  10. My mouth is seriously watering. This looks delicious. It reminds me that I need to experiment with desserts a bit more.

  11. running for a can of pringles, Oh I loved that!! great entry for daring bakers...I love your pics,
    have agreat weeek

  12. YUM!! What a great job on this month's challenge. Mocha with salted caramel? sounds drool-worthy. Thanks for sharing. :)

  13. Incredible! Just look at those cookies.

  14. Oh wow!!! I'm so totally drooling right now!!!! You did a wonderful job, and I so wish I could do some sampling!! :)

  15. Isn't panna cotta an amazing thing?! I'd never had it before doing this challenge, and now I can't believe it's taken me so long to discover how amazing it is, lol :)

    I love the sound of the mocha with caramel, yum! Looks fantastic :)

  16. Koci- you are sooo talented! And your pics keep getting better and better. LOVE THEM!! I would love some of that panna cotta and cookies right about now. Keep up the great work!! :)

  17. @Kristen: Thank you! I totally recommend giving panna cotta a try. It's delicious!

    @sweetlife: hehehe Thanks! You, too! :)

    @E.K.R.: Thank you!

    @A Spicy Perspective: Thanks! I love any sort of oatmeal cookies.

    @Sheila: Thanks!

    @Mandy: It is awesome! This was definitely a very useful challenge.

    @Jenny: Thank you! I love learning more about food photography, so blogging these yummies just makes it even more fun, even if they make me quite hungry. :D

  18. Love the combo of coffee and salt caramel, sounds like a real winner to me (and looks beautiful too!)

  19. haha sour cream and onion pringles is old school guilty pleasure! LOL!! seriously though, looking at the chocolate being poured is almost too much to bear, drooling is an understatement....now I'm full blown craving!!!!


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