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Cocoa Panna Cotta with Blackberries, Cherries, and Cocoa Clove Cookies

Gentl & Hyers

Servings: 6

Panna cotta is a classic Italian dessert made with milk and cream, lightly sweetened with sugar, and thickened with gelatin. It doesn’t contain eggs but has the silky smooth qualities of custard, especially if you use just enough gelatin to hold its shape on a plate. Panna cotta lends itself to many variations, including the addition of buttermilk, crème fraîche, or yogurt for part of the cream. Because the list of ingredients is short, high-quality milk and cream make a noticeable difference.

This recipe is excerpted from The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook.


For the panna cotta

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil, for the ramekins
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, (natural or Dutch processed)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract)
  • One 1/4-oz. package (2-1/2 tsp.) powdered gelatin

For the cookies

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, (natural or Dutch processed)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground clove
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 large egg

Make the fruit

  • 3/4 cup pitted dark cherries
  • 3/4 cup blackberries
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Fresh mint leaves, preferably chocolate mint, torn


Make the panna cotta

  • Lightly oil 6 small ramekins and set aside.
  • Add the cream, milk, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla bean, if using, to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk to combine over low heat, until the sugar dissolves completely and any cocoa powder lumps are incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup water and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Add to the warm cocoa cream mixture, whisking until the gelatin is completely melted.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher, add the vanilla extract if using instead of a vanilla bean, and divide among the ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the cookies

  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and clove together and set aside. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed until smooth, creamy, and lighter in color, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until they disappear into the dough. Form the dough into 2 logs and chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a sharp or serrated knife, slice the dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The cookies will be set around the edges and firm to the touch.

Make the fruit

  • Combine the cherries and blackberries with the granulated sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Add several torn chocolate mint leaves.
  • To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of each panna cotta and unmold onto a plate by placing a serving plate on top of a ramekin and inverting it. Garnish with the fruit and cookies.


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