Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hazenlut Panna Cotta With A Honey Cocoa Glaze



Sometimes in the summer I find myself craving the nutty flavors of fall, slightly over-excited for the next season on the docket. But the heat...oh the heat. It makes baking things like warm nutty pies a bit of a challenge, especially when you live in a small 1950's-era bungalow with little-to-no insulation and the weather outside is hovering around 98 degrees, which means the weather inside your home is hovering around 88 degrees. A challenge indeed! But not one that can't be overcome with a bit of gelatin, cream, and Frangelico. Yes, it is best to use a fine and silky hazelnut liquor for the hazelnut flavoring in your cool treat. The taste is so much more robust than hazelnut extract, you get hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa mixed in, too. And when you open the bottle it smells exactly like freshly ground hazelnut butter. (A random smell to reference, but I know how this smells because Whole Foods has stations where you can grind your own nut butters, and I am obsessed with them.)


I made panna cotta for the first time a few months back, and was surprised at how easy it was to make. With a name like "panna cotta" (picture Giada de Laurentis saying it, because that's how it sounds in my head) I was expecting it to be difficult and tedious, but it ended up being no more difficult than making jello. All you have to do is mix the gelatin with some water and any other flavored liquids, like  liquor or juice, and set that aside while you heat the milk and cream until it simmers. Then whisk in the gelatin mixture, refrigerate it, and voila! Panna cotta complete. The last time I made panna cotta I didn't unmould it, though, and was a bit nervous about doing it this time around. When it was time to unmould, I held the pan in a bowl of hot water for about a minute before flipping it onto a plate. It slid right out, along with a small bit of liquid, which lead me to believe that I could have taken it out after 20 seconds rather than a full minute since I ended up melting it a little. But it came out easily nevertheless, so don't feel panicked if yours doesn't, just leave it in the hot water for a tad bit longer.


For this recipe, I poured the mixture into a 3-cup capacity mini-bundt pan, but you could also pour it into (3) 1-cup capacity regular ramekins or whatever shaped container you'd like. You can even get creative and pour it into crazy-shaped jello moulds layered with other panna cotta flavors. But for this recipe I stuck with a simple and delicious hazelnut panna cotta and made a quick glaze using raw honey and raw cocoa powder. I love using raw cocoa powder because the cacao bean has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any edible substance. The only issue is that when cacao is roasted many of the antioxidants are destroyed, so the dark chocolate we eat with roasted cocoa is not nearly as beneficial as it could be. Because of this, I like using raw cocoa powder and raw cocoa beans, both of which I get from Mountain Rose Herbs for super cheap. They're both bitter and need to be paired with something sweet (I usually stuff the beans into the middle of dates. SO tasty.) So the slightly bitter raw cocoa powder pairs very well with the rich and sweet honey, and it really helps bring out the chocolate notes in the Frangelico. Plus it's awesomely easy to make, since you just have to whisk them together by hand for like 30 seconds and then a chocolatey glaze appears. Hurray easy-yet-froofy-looking desserts! And for more information about Frangelico & it's possible recipe inclusions, make sure to check out their facebook page and website.



Ingredients:

Hazelnut Panna Cotta

1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 cup turbinado or light brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup Frangelico hazelnut liquor
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 packets gelatin

Raw Honey Cocoa Glaze

1/3 cup raw honey
1 tablespoon raw cocoa powder

Toasted Hazelnut Topping

1/4 cup crushed hazelnuts
generous pinch salt


To make the panna cotta, whisk together the gelatin, water, vanilla extract, and Frangelico in a small bowl and set aside. Bring the cream, milk, and sugar to a boil over medium heat and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture until completely smooth. The gelatin might have gotten chunky while it was sitting out but it should dissolve completely when exposed to the warm liquid and mix in smoothly. Pour the mixture into (3) 1-cup capacity ramekins or (1) 3-cup capacity miniature bundt pan and refrigerate overnight.

While the panna cotta is setting, you can get to toasting the hazelnuts & making the glaze. Preheat the oven to oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the hazelnuts in a metal baking dish in an even flat layer and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the nuts have darkened slightly and are aromatic. Remove and allow to cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk together the honey and cocoa powder until blended and set aside.

Once the panna cotta is set, dip the pan in hot water (do not submerge it, of course, just dip it in up until about 1 inch away from the top) for 10-20 seconds and then flip it over onto the serving surface. If it doesn't unmould right away, dip the pan in the hot water for a longer period of time. Once it unmoulds, drizzle the honey glaze over the top and sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers.


33 comments:

  1. I crave fall flavours all year round and this recipe is absolutely lovely!! What a fun dessert!

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    1. Thank you so much Katrina! I am the same way, I could eat pumpkin pie in the middle of summer without issue...or really anything pumpkin for that matter. :)

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  2. Beautiful and mouth-watering :) perfect pictures!
    have a nice week

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    1. Thank you so much Nizz! You have a great week, too! :)

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  3. Eva, this is beautiful! What a great way to combine hazelnut and chocolate, and without a lick of Nutella to boot! Frangelico makes me swoon. I've barely been cooking enough to get into summer's flavors, and I know they'll be gone so soon. Gah! At least we can sustain ourselves with desserts like these when fresh fruit is hard to find.

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    1. Agreed! Got to rely on the tasty warm flavors of nuts when the bright fresh produce of the summer goes away. I have a feeling the summer will stay late this year, though, since it took so long to get here, so hopefully we'll have that fresh produce for a wee bit longer :)

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  4. That's such a beautiful dessert. Looks delicious with the nuts.

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  5. this looks insanely good! Fall flavors are the best.

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    1. Thank you Dervla! They really are just the tastiest. So warm and comforting.

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  6. your photos drive my tongue wild!

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  7. Yum, I have to run and get a bottle of Frangelico hazelnut liquor ASAP!

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    1. I highly recommend it! So great in sweets, and just as tasty in cocktails :)

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  8. I think what I love most about panna cotta is that it's such a simple dessert you can totally elevate with flavors. I think this is one of the prettiest I've seen...

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    1. Awww thanks Jade! I love my mini bundt pan, it just makes the cutest stuff. I kind of want to get a few more of them so I can use it for single-serving desserts :)

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  9. I love Frangelico and need to keep it in my house more often. This looks so fabulous!

    Sues

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    1. Thank you Sues! It my favorite flavored liqueur :)

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  10. Woah, that looks like some seriously delicious dessert right there! Love how you made this in a cute little bundt and that sticky chocolate glaze? Yum.

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    1. Thank you so much! I am obsessed with moulding things into bundt pans, there's so many beautiful designs out there. Cake, puddings, bread puddings, panna cotta...so many things to make :)

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  11. The frangelico bottle got me interested, and then I realized it was a panna cotta! Is there a more simple yet amazing dessert?! And with hazelnut flavor, really this can't get much better, unless you knock on my door carrying it...!

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    1. Hahaha, thanks Paula! I still can't get over how easy panna cotta is to make. I avoided it for years because in my head I thought it was going to be froofy and difficult, but it was wonderfully simple to throw together in reality, and now it's one of my favorite things to make because it always looks so impressive but takes hardly any effort :)

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  12. these photos are so mouthwateringly stunning!! and it sounds like an amazing dessert - panna cotta with hazelnut and oh my that cocoa glaze with honey to finish. I'm in love!

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  13. I am SO feeling the fall flavors. Granted, we are experiencing some pretty chilly weather out here at the moment (I'm actually wearing a sweater!). But yes, yes to warm spices and cocoa and hazelnutty things. This panna cotta looks TO DIE FOR, especially with that pool of chocolate in the middle! (I've been trying to gauge whether or not I could eat the whole thing in one sitting based on the size of the knife handle. I think I could do it.)

    Also, this makes me realize that I need to buy some nutty liqueurs so I can start incorporating them into baked goods. Have you ever heard of/worked with Nocino before? I read about it on Familystyle Food a few months ago — it's an Italian liqueur made from green walnuts, and it sounds super interesting.

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    1. Me and Jeremy ended up eating it all between the two of us in one sitting. It probably took about 5 minutes for us to demolish it, but I have no regrets! It was that tasty.

      And I haven't heard of Nocino befor, but I just did some quick googling and my God, that sounds awesome. I want to bake all the things with it! Also, cocktails. Once Jeremy builds us a new bar cabinet (hopefully in the next couple months) I'm going to restock with that little devil. The bottles for it look so neat, too! I'm always a sucker for beautiful packaging when it comes to liquor.

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  14. Freshly ground hazelnut butter makes my head spin! I love that this recipe can be easily "veganized" without impairing the spirit of it ( do I even make sense?). With hazelnut milk. For extra nutty flavour! Yum!

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    1. Oh man, hazelnut milk is a genius idea!! That would make it even tastier while keeping the rich quality of it. I am definitely going to try that the next time I make it :D

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  15. that's looking like a super messy treat, and i'm diggin' it! sophisticated yet accessible. :)

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  16. This is so, so, SO gorgeous Eva! I say that about everything you make, but it's always true. I haven't made panna cotta yet myself, but now I'm thinking I should try soon! Love that this is easy to make but looks so elegant (and "froofy"!). And it's just as hot where I am now too, so I feel for you!

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  17. This is gorgeous, I can not wait to give this a try, it's just mouth watering :)

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