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…

Family Camp-In Recipe: S'more Kisses For the Dixie
#DarkForDinner Movement #ad

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dixie for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Last weekend, my youngest daughter and I spent some one-on-one time in the kitchen coming up with a new cookie recipe inspired by the classic summer camping treat -- S'mores.

There is nothing in this world more important to me than family time.

How about you?

It's summertime, and we hear a lot about grand summer road trips, traveling by air or by sea to explore other lands and cultures, and lazy days on a river or lake followed by nights under the stars in inside a tent. These summer family getaways are no doubt memorable, but not always within our grasp. Fortunately, it doesn't take a lot of money, a week off of work, or even a tank of gas to make special family memories with those you love most. All it takes is a little imagination, and that's why on Sunday, July 6, we're going #DarkForDinner with an indoor camp-out -- a Camp-In.

On Sunday, June 14, Dixie launched a wonderful movement called #DarkForDinner The movement encourages families to be more present in the moments that matter most and spend more meaningful time together, especially during dinner. In order to really appreciate the company of your family during dinner, the #DarkForDinnermovement asks those participating to turn off all cell phones, televisions, computers or other electronic devices to ensure the time together is distraction free.

Just like at a regular campout, we're unplugging -- No electric lights, no cell phones or devices, and no television. We'll be outfitting our cozy lodge-style living room into our Camp-In zone. Here's the "Before" shot.

The coffee table is going out, and we'll sit, campfire style, on the rug. My sister and I will be in charge and we'll be joined by my husband, our girls, and some of the kids' best friends.

On the agenda:
  • A special camp-out themed dinner. For dessert, we'll be enjoying the amazing "Smore Kisses" Cookies pictured at the top of this post. You can find the recipe below.
  • Telling stories and playing games designed to help us learn more about each other. I'll share more about a game we invented called "Favorites" in my follow-up post.
  • Music -- The girls will provide the entertainment on their guitars and ukeleles

It's really simple, but I know it's going to be very special. Going #DarkForDinner is a great opportunity for my family to spend time together unencumbered by distractions. It's important to me and my husband that we share moments like this with our children where we are fully engaged. There's no pressure and no set agenda. Everyone is there to simply enjoy "being".

So, have I piqued your interest in going #DarkForDinner with the special people in your life? Go ahead, pull out the calendar and pick a Sunday any time through July 19. It doesn't have to be a grand production. All it takes is turning off a few switches and turning on the human connection. 

Join Dixie by participating in the #DarkForDinnermovement. For one family dinner, make sure work calls, personal calls, social media or other distractions do not take away from time you can spend together. Go #DarkForDinner and enjoy great conversation and time with what really matters most in life, your family.

Now, as promised, here's the recipe so that you can enjoy S'more Kisses with your family!

S'more Kisses

(Yield: 20 cookies)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar for dipping
  • 10 large marshmallows cut in half with kitchen shears
  • 20 chocolate kisses, unwrapped
Step 1:  In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.
Step 2:  With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and mix until smooth and no lumps remain. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 3:  Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in sugar. Place 1” apart on baking sheet (4 rows of 5 cookies).
Step 4:  Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently press a mashmallow half on to each cookie. Move oven rack to top position. Bake for 2 more minutes on top shelf.
Step 5:  Gently press a chocolate kiss into each marshmallow. Bake for 1 minute more. (If you like you marshmallows toasty, you can use a kitchen torch or even a stick lighter to add a little color to your marshmallows). Cool, then serve warm or cold
About Dixie: For over 90 years, Dixie® products have been a part of American lives. Originally invented to help prevent the spread of germs through community drinking cups, the Dixie® paper cup has become an iconic American product. Throughout the years, Dixie has continued to introduce new products to make lives simpler and clean-up easier. Today, Dixie has an entire line of paper and plastic products including plates, bowls, cups, cup dispensers, serving platters and dining utensils. These products continue to enable consumers to worry less about chores and spend more time focusing on what matters most to them.
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