(1 Baker + 1 Cook)/1 Kitchen = eep!

A few weeks ago, Chef Hubby completed his first Daring Cook challenge <check it out here>. It was a French peasant dish and so it would make enough to feed a farming family for a week.  We invited my family over to help us  eat this culinary experiment. Being the baker of the household, I prepared dessert using my Daring Baker’s 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.

The dinner was set for Friday night. Chef Hubby started his cassoulet and confit prep work well in advance. I was waiting until Thursday night to prepare the panna cotta. It was only supposed to take about a half an hour to prepare and then it would sit overnight. I’d be done in the kitchen before Chef Hubby even got home from teaching at the dojo (he’s also Master/Kru Chef Hubby at a local martial arts school.) He could have the kitchen back to continue with h
is cassoulet.

But what is that saying? The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry? I should get that tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. Or maybe have it airbrushed onto my KitchenAid. In the week between deciding to have the family over for dinner and the dinner night itself we had to spent a few nights at the vet’s office, a few late nights at the dojo and a few nights suffering from exhausted pregnant woman syndrome. So now it is Thursday night, Chef Hubby has multiple nights worth of prep work to do and I realized that I forgot I had to make the Florentine Cookies! My 30 minutes of needed time in the kitchen now magically turned into an hour and half (including oven time because I didn’t want my cookies baking in the same oven with his duck stuff)

By the time I got all of my ingredients and such together, this is what the kitchen island looked like:

Chef Hubby was home and cooking up a storm. I performed some sous-chef responsibilities while waiting for a empty space on the stove. I prepared the Chocolate Panna Cotta Recipe provided by the host of the February Challenge.

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

I need to work on getting matching sets of presentation vessels

I think it was harder to fit the ramekins in the fridge than it was to actually prepare the recipe. Between the two challenges, there was ZERO room in our fridge. It took both my and Chef Hubby’s Tetris skills to fit the Panna Cotta in to set.

While the Panna Cotta set, I got started on the Florentine cookies. On the dining room table. I had lost my space in the kitchen.

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.

  1. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.

Much like in Limpetfan’s experience making this same recipe (found here), the recipe did not make nearly as many cookies as it should of. It claimed 2-3 dozen using that one tablespoon. I got maybe 8 or 9 sandwiches.

I opted to make a cabernet sauvignon gelee to top the Panna Cotta.

  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cabernet sauvignon (Cooper Gerard, 1999, California)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Sprinkle the gelatin over water in a small saucepan and allow to sit for 1 minute

Add sugar and wine

Simmer until all is dissolved and the liquid is clear

Remove from heat and add lemon juice

I waited until the panna cotta had set up slightly before pouring a layer of the gelee over the top, then allowed the whole enchilada to set overnight.

Panna Cotta and Florentine cookie

This dessert was a hit. My dad, who veers away from chocolate thoroughly enjoyed it. My mom stopped by the next day to steal the last of the cookies.


2 thoughts on “(1 Baker + 1 Cook)/1 Kitchen = eep!

    1. i gotta wonder if that was a typo. although if the cookies were smaller, i’d have to eat more of them and feel like a big pig. now i can say ‘i only had one cookie’ 😛

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