Sunday, February 27, 2011

The February Daring Bakers' Challenge

Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen was the host for February's Daring Bakers' Challenge (can I quickly mention that I do, indeed, have a sofa in my kitchen? Best idea ever if you don't have one!).  The challenge was actually a two-in-one: Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies.  I loved this challenge because I have never had either of them previously, and they were both super easy to veganize.  I did my research, and a few options to replace the gelatin exist.  I decided to go with agar-agar (super expensive, but totally does the trick).  Here's what I came up with:

(Vegan) Panna Cotta with Mango Compote and Florentine Cookies


For the Panna Cotta:
- 3/4 can light coconut milk
- 1 cup vegan vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons agar-agar (I used the flakes)

For the Mango Compote:
- 2 1/2 mangoes
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Juice from 3 limes
- Juice from 1 large lemon

For the Florentine Cookies:
(I used the recipe from Daring Bakers, but changed a few things)
- 2/3 cup vegan butter
- 2 cups quick oats
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup AP flour
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Dash salt
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup mixture
(3/4 molasses, 1/4 light corn syrup)*
* you can also use 1/4 cup dark brown corn syrup, but I wasn't looking to buy this

For the Panna Cotta:
1. Grab a medium-sized saucepan, and add the coconut milk, sugar, and agar-agar.  Let it sit for a minute before bringing to a simmer.  
2. Reduce heat, and simmer (stirring constantly) for 10-15 minutes.  You're looking to dissolve the agar-agar here.  It won't completely disappear, but you'll see a difference. 
3.  Remove from heat, and immediately wisk in yogurt and vanilla.  Wisk more!
4.  Pour into glasses or fancy ramekins, cover, and place in 'fridge.

For the Mango Compote:
1. Peel mangoes and gather all of the lovely chunks in a bowl.
2. Throw chunks in a food processor for a few seconds and pulse: you don't want to liquify the mangoes (although, you totally can and it'll be delicious), just make them into teeny pieces.
3. Meanwhile, heat the water, sugar, and juice in a small saucepan.  Wisk until the sugar dissolves.
4. Transfer the mangoes to a deep bowl before macerating with the hot, sugary liquid.

For the Florentine Cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  
2. Grab a medium-sized saucepan and melt the butter.  As soon as it melts, turn off the heat.
3. Throw in your oats, sugar, flour, molasses and corn syrup mixture, almond milk, vanilla, and salt.
4. Mix!
5. Drop a spoonful onto a Silipat (or throw down some parchment paper), leaving plenty of room for each to spread a good inch-and-a-half around.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
7. Let the cookies cool while you melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan.
8. Once cooled, match up each cookie to one that seems to match.  Spread melted chocolate on the inside of one, and marry them.  Or, drizzle the chocolate on top!

Panna Cotta can be a assembled in two ways: in a pretty glass, or unmolded.  I did both because, well, it's more fun!  If you choose to layer your panna cotta and compote in a glass, be sure to refrigerate for a few minutes after adding each layer.  If unmolding, you'll have to use a paring knife to cut around the edges.


  1. WOW I'm always impressed with vegan versions of the challenge recipe and yours looks outstanding both panna cottas look light and well textured ad the cookies crisp and sweet. Great work on this challenge. Fabulous results on this challenge. Great work.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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