February 27, 2011

DB Maple Florentine Cookies and Coconut Panna Cotta

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.

Another month gone by and I continued my wheat free experiment.  I also spent most of this past month going fairly low carb and nearly zero sugar so I needed to make quite a few alterations to this month's recipes.  For the panna cotta, I used coconut milk and gelatin without any sweetener at all.  The raspberry gelee on top, made from frozen berries, got just a scant teaspoon of honey to cut the tartness.  They were delicious together and plenty sweet enough for me. 

I ended up spending more time on the Florentine cookie recipe.  I remembered how one of my Christmas cookie experiments with maple sugar produced a lacy cookie so I thought I could adapt this recipe to lessen the refined sugar.  I cut the amount of sugar, replaced it with maple sugar and replaced the wheat flour with gluten-free flours.  My first batch ended up too chewy but were so well received by Alex that I made a second batch to work on a better texture.  I'm quite happy with this lower sugar, maple flavored version. 

Maple Florentine Cookies
My dairy-free, gluten-free, less refined sugar version of these Nestle Florentine Cookies.  If possible weigh your ingredients, the cup measurements are not as exact.
Makes ~2 dozen cookie sandwiches

2/3 cup (150g) coconut oil
2 cups (160g) oatmeal, I used regular oats
2/3 cup (110g) maple sugar
~1/4 cup (35g) almond meal
~1/4 cup (30g) tapioca starch
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk, I used unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch of fine sea salt
1 cup (170g) dark chocolate

-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchement paper.
-Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan.  Remove from heat and stir in all the ingredients, mix very well.
-Spoon or scoop on tablespoons of the dough three inches apart.
-Bake for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.  Cool fully on the paper before moving. You can carefully slide the paper with the cooling cookies off your baking sheets onto your counter. Then you can cool the baking pans off with cold water and use another piece of paper to keep the production going.  Or take your time. 
-Repeat to use all the dough.
-Melt your chocolate (double boiler or microwave) and spread a small amount between each cookie before sandwiching.  Baked tops shoudl be facing outside.

-For the unaltered challenge recipes see our host Mallory's site, A Sofa in the Kitchen.
-Mallory used Giada De Laurentiis' Panna Cotta recipe and the Florentine recipe came from Nestle Classic Recipes which can also be found on the Nestle Kitchen website.
-I get my maple sugar from our local co-op which carries U.P. Sugar Shack sugar.  You can also purchase maple sugar online at Marx Foods
-Ready to take on a monthly baking challenge?  Visit the Daring Kitchen and don't forget to look at the Daring Baker Blogroll for other cookie/gel combos.

My first batch of Florentines was made with rice and tapioca flours.  They came with some gluten-free chocolate cutout cookies (raspberry frosted) to a Valentine's Day get together.  Unfortunately, I committed the cardinal sin of forgetting that there were kids there with diets even more restricted than Alex's.  I know from experience that it sucks when there are treats he can't have but just didn't think it through.