Sometimes when I'm taking the bus or waiting for someone, I start brainstorming. Flavors, cakes, cookies, and other elements explode and collide into beautiful colors. Once in awhile, a brightness will outshine all the other fireworks going off and I know it's the one to test out in the kitchen.
This is one of those ideas. In highschool, Starbuck's Caramel Frappuccino was the "thing" to spend my allowance on. At least two days a week, I would purchase a tall frappuccino and enjoy the sweet combination of caramel, whipped cream, and caffeine. After awhile, I grew out of it. It stopped tasting as wonderful and it started to taste one dimensional. It lost its "wow" factor.
With a carton of heavy cream and milk sitting in the fridge, I thought a coffee panna cotta sounded perfect, but what if I elevated it by adding caramel. It's the sophisticated version of Starbuck's Caramel Frappuccino in dessert form.
Caramel Coffee Panna Cotta
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Note: For extra Starbuck's awesomeness, garnish with caramel sauce and whipped cream. =)
Serves 2 to 4
(depending on the size of your glasses)
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp instant coffee powder
- In a bowl, sprinkle gelatin over milk. Let it soften while making caramel.
- Microwave heavy cream for 30 to 45 seconds until warm to the touch. Set aside.
- Sprinkle sugar in a pot over medium low heat. When the sugar starts liquefying, turn the heat to low. As the sugar turns into a dark amber, remove from heat and let it turn into a dark chestnut brown. If the colors stops, return to stove top over low heat. When the desired color is achieved, add warmed heavy cream and salt. If lumps form, dissolve over low heat.
- When caramel is smooth, add whole milk and coffee powder. Keep the heat on low and allow the mixture to warm up. When the gelatin dissolves, remove from heat. Whatever you do, do not let the mixture boil.
- In a heatproof bowl, put a strainer on top and pour the mixture. Let the mixture come to room temperature or put it in the refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Once the mixture cools, give it a good stir and divide it into glasses of your choice. (I have used shot glasses, martini glasses, and ramekins).
- Let it firm up in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Garnish with shaved chocolate or fresh whipped cream and caramel sauce.