A Sweet New Year

It’s Monday afternoon, the day before New Year’s Eve and I’ve just received a phone call from my husband with details on our plans for tomorrow night. We’ve been invited to join another couple for dinner at their apartment downtown. They’ll cook (rumor has it that the menu will be spaghetti and meatballs) and Mike tells me that they have plenty of champagne and cocktails, so all we need is dessert.

My mission: brainstorm a sweet treat for 4 people that’s special enough for the occasion, simple enough to accomplish in the next 24 hours, and will transport easily…. I decided to continue the Italian theme and attempt panna cotta with berry sauce. First things first, research some recipes and gather a little Pin-spiration.

Once I've studied GiadaThe Kitchn and Michael Symon  I decided instead of honey vanilla to put my own spin on the dish and make chocolate panna cotta. I absolutely love chocolate in all its forms and I consider it an essential entry on any restaurant dessert menu. Ice cream doesn’t count. Make it a flourless torte, mousse, or deep dark brownie please and thank you.

So once I had a general idea of what the basic ingredients and proportions were I rummaged in our pantry for the solid semi-sweet bars and the cocoa powder. Inspiration struck when I realized there was a little coffee left in the pot after that morning’s brew… a classic trick for making chocolate reach it’s full flavor. Here's what I came up with - I hope you enjoy!

Chocolate & Raspberry Panna Cotta (adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis); Serves: 4 (generously)


Chocolate Panna Cotta GoldfinchandScout.JPG

1 cup whole milk

3 cups heavy cream

1 tbsp unflavored gelatin (1 packet)

2 squares semi-sweet baker’s chocolate, melted

1/8 cup cocoa powder

½ cup white sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp brewed coffee

½ pint red raspberries



Pour the milk into a medium sauce pan and sprinkle the packet of gelatin over. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.

While the gelatin is softening, melt the baker’s chocolate in the microwave in 15-20 second increments until liquid and smooth.

Turn on the heat  under the milk to medium and cook just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 5 minutes.

Add the cream, sugar, melted chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla and coffee.

Stir until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes and the cocoa powder and chocolate are combined.

Remove from the heat. Pour into 4 ramekins or mugs so that they are ¾ full. Cool slightly.

Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.

Spoon the raspberries atop the panna cotta and serve.