I Heart Cooking Clubs is cooking with Giada for the next 6 months.
This week's IHCC theme is Chocolate Cravings, something that is near and dear to Giada's heart. Mine too. I keep a secret stash of some form of chocolate and raid it almost every night. I have to. It's really the only way my family can stand me.
Since I love chocolate so much, it was hard to choose just one recipe. It took a while to narrow it to Giada's Chocolate Pound Cake & her Chocolate Panna Cotta. The Panna Cotta won only because I've never made any type of panna cotta before and wanted to try something new. But, believe me, I'll make the pound cake sometime too.
The Scoop: This was rich and decadent. A little goes a long way. The serving above was almost too much for me. Almost. Don't worry; I managed.
I thought about using semi-sweet chocolate, but am glad I stuck with the bittersweet. Having never had panna cotta, I didn't know what to expect. This was a cross between mousse and chocolate pudding. I didn't have Amaretto--instead I added a couple of drops of almond extract to the whipped cream. Wasn't hard to make, but did produce a fair amount of dirty dishes. Worth it, though.
Chocolate Panna Cotta with Amaretto Whipped Cream
from Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian favorites
2 cups cold whole milk, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 packet unflavored gelatin
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (12-ounce) bag bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon almond liqueur such as Amaretto
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 2-quart casserole dish. In a small saucepan, combine 1½ cups of the milk, the granulated sugar, and the vanilla. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining ½ cup of cold milk and let it dissolve for 2 minutes. Combine the cold milk and gelatin with the hot milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve the gelatin, about 5 minutes. (If the gelatin is not dissolving easily, heat the milk gently.) When the gelatin is dissolved, combine the eggs with the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or small pitcher.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips over simmering water in a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted, gradually combine the milk and egg mixture with the melted chocolate, stirring between each addition to create a smooth chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the top with the almonds. Place the casserole dish in a larger baking pan or roasting pan and add hot water to the larger pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the casserole dish. Place both pans in the oven and bake the panna cotta.
Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, whip the cream to soft peaks in a medium bowl using a whisk or electric hand mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and almond liqueur and whip to combine. Spoon the panna cotta into individual serving bowls and dollop the top with the almond whipped cream.