Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…

Gluten-Free Baking: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

On an adventure up the coast a few weeks ago, my friend Kelly and I stopped at a wonderful little bakery where I purchased two gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies.  The first I enjoyed with my cup of coffee and the second I tucked into my glove box to save for my daughter.  After a day of thrifting and fabric shopping, we returned to the car where we were greeted by the smell of freshly baked cookies.  In the heat of the car, my cookie had reached the perfect temperature for maximum chocolate meltiness.  It never made it to my daughter. That warm, peanut-buttery morsel has been on my mind, and yes, the guilt has been nagging me.  So, this past weekend, I tried to come up with my own version.  They were delicious indeed, and like the original, are best when warm.  You've heard of icebox cookies?  These are the perfect glove-box cookies!  

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies -- Gluten free

(makes approx. 30)

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick butter), softened
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz. chocolate chunks 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (for rolling)

Preheat oven to 350° F

Step 1:  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the peanut butter, butter and brown sugar.  Beat in the egg and vanilla till smooth.

Step 2:  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt.  Add to the peanut butter mixture and mix just to combine.  Stir in chocolate chunks on low speed.

Step 3:  Scoop dough into 2 TB portions.  Roll dough between palms to form a ball, then roll in granulated sugar.  Arrange, 12 to an ungreased cookie sheet (you'll use 3 cookie sheets, or make three rounds of cookies).  Refrigerate pans of portioned dough for 15 minutes.

Step 4:  Bake (1-2 pans at a time) in middle racks of oven, for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Use a spatula to flatten each cookie.  When cool enough to handle, they're ready to eat.

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