Monthly Archives: February 2011

Daring Bakers: Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies

The February 2011 Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen.  She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentis’ recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.  I was especially excited about making the panna cotta as I had heard of it so many times but never ventured out to make it myself.  I love to desserts (obviously) but when it comes to making them I usually play it safe with a cake of sorts.  This is why I am so happy to be a part of Daring Bakers as it challenges me to put fear aside and make things I probably would have never considered attempting.

Alright, on to this month’s challenge which I made for my Bible study group on Valentine’s day.  The panna cotta was ridiculously easy to make.  I topped it with some frozen mixed berries that I cooked down with some sugar.  The florentines were also easy to make it was just a bit time consuming.  I didn’t try either of the desserts but the ladies assured me they were both delicious.  Only one of them had ever heard of or tried panna cotta so it was fun to share something new with them.

Check out my fellow bakers here to see their creamy dreamy crunchy sweet desserts.  Thanks Mallory for such a fun challenge this month!


Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Cookies


The Cake Slice Bakers: Heath Bar Crunch Cake

I was happy to see that I had everything on hand for this month’s cake with the exception of the instant espresso powder.  I am not a coffee drinker so it is simply not something I keep at home.  I was off to the grocery store to get the espresso powder and found that the smallest jar was $3.  Yes, it’s not much money but since I would not be using it again and other bakers said it was too intense with the coffee I made an executive decision and decided to leave it out.  I ended up swapping it out for 1 tbsp of cocoa powder.  I made some other minor changes which included adding some sliced almonds to the streusel to make up for not quite 1 cup of heath pieces.  The last of my changes were adding a handful or so of semi-sweet chocolate chips and some more almonds to the batter.

I made the cake for one of my co-worker’s to celebrate his birthday this past Friday.  I did not try the cake myself but got some great reviews from the birthday boy along with my other co-workers.  I hope my fellow bakers enjoyed it as much as my co-workers did.  Check them out here to find out what their thoughts were.

For the cake:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1  1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

For the streusel:

  • 1 cup chopped heath bars
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9″ springform pan.  Combine heath bar pieces, sugar, flour and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Work mixture with your fingers until it resembles large crumbs.  Refrigerate until ready to use.


Combine flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder in a medium mixing bowl.  Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer and cream at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  With the mixer on low-speed add egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract.

With the mixer on low-speed add 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/2 the milk, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Repeat, alternating the flour and milk, ending with the flour.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, leveling it with a spatula.  Scatter the streusel evenly over the cake and bake for 55-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.  Release the sides of the pan and use a spatula to slide cake off the pan bottom onto wire rack to finish cooling.  Store cake in a cake keeper or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days.



Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Cakes