Ever since I started thinking about St. Patrick’s Day recipes I’ve had Bailey’s Irish Cream on my mind. One of the recipes I love to make is panna cotta, an Italian custard made with cream and gelatin. It’s versatile, delicious and oh-so-easy. This recipe for Bailey’s Irish Cream panna cotta with espresso caramel is the very satisfying result of all my brain storming. It’s a little Irish, a lot delicious and sophisticated to boot. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Bailey’s Irish cream isn’t something we keep in the house; in fact this is the first bottle I ever purchased. It’s not something I order at a bar either. Still, I have nostalgia for the drink. My first experience with Bailey’s Irish cream was something to remember. I was 14 years old and staying at my grandmother’s home in St. Louis, Missouri for New Year’s Eve. As the clock ticked toward the New Year, she brought out a bottle of Bailey’s Irish cream with a flourish, along with two little shot glasses.
I was sitting in one of those big reclining swivel chairs when she handed me a glass and poured a little “nip” as she called it. The Bailey’s was strong and sweet and I had to shut my eyes and swallow it quickly just like cough medicine. I swiveled in my chair to hide my scrunched-up face as I swallowed it, rotating back into grandmother’s view with an empty glass. She was impressed with my drinking skills. I just wanted to swallow the stuff. She poured me another, and then another. That was the first time I was tipsy.
Grandmother would love this Bailey’s Irish Cream panna cotta. It’s smooth and creamy with just a little kick from the liquor. The salted espresso caramel sauce goes perfectly, with flavors reminiscent of tiramisu. This recipe is the perfec–elegant–way to end a St. Patrick’s Day meal. You can pour the panna cotta into little shot glasses, wineglasses or beer glasses to serve. You can harden the custard in a ramekin and turn them out onto plates, with the caramel sauce drizzled on top.
However you presented this dessert, it’s a delicious, boozy way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day—or any old day. One bonus I have to mention: This recipe makes enough of this crazy-yummy espresso caramel for an extra cup to save. Pour it in a little jar and drizzle it on ice cream or cheesecake or just eat it with a spoon.
This recipe wraps up my collection of St. Patrick’s Day recipes for 2014. Please check out my other recipes for some inspiration. I wish you and your family a happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Yield: 8 servings + extra sauce
Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in vanilla extract.
-If you are using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the cream and drop in the vanilla pod. Let infuse for 30 minutes and then remove the bean. Reheat to continue..
-Lightly oil custard ramekins with a neutral tasting oil if you plan to turn out the custard onto plates.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow it to "bloom".
Add the gelatin to the hot cream mixture and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the Bailey's Irish Cream
Pour the custard mixture into glasses or ramekins, dividing evenly. Chill until firm, about four hours.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of water and espresso powder.
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir remaining 6 tablespoons of water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil sugar mixture about 8 minutes, swirling the caramel mixture until darker and bubbly.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add cream, butter, salt and coffee mixture to the caramel.
Return to heat. Boil the mixture, whisking constantly until smooth and thickened. Pour over chilled panna cotta and save remaining sauce in a canning jar for up to 2 weeks.
I think I’ve been approaching this “learning to bake” thing backwards. Here I am, 100+ recipes into my blog, and I’ve made 8 cakes and only 2 cookie recipes. Baking cookies is so much easier! That said; this chocolate espresso crinkle cookie recipe is a little challenging. Not because the recipe is hard to make, but because they are delicate once baked. In a good way.
These chocolate espresso crinkle cookies have 3 kinds of chocolate, barely held together with a bit of flour and butter. They are addicting in so many ways. With dark, rich chocolate, a light cake-like consistency, and the added caffeine-boost of espresso; they were gone in days. Two days.
So my warning: Don’t make these cookies if you plan on having them around for a little while. It won’t happen.
Do make them if you want to eat a cookie that you can’t buy in a grocery store—that tastes 10x better than any cookie in the grocery store. If you have little ones, tell them these are “mommy’s and daddy’s cookies” because you will want them all for yourself and they shouldn’t have caffeine anyway. If you have guests over, impress them with your sophistication and great baking abilities because these look so gorgeous. I’m a fan. Can you tell?
Slightly adapted from David Rocco’s Chocolate Espresso Cookies
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso, baking powder, and salt, using the back of a spoon to press any lumps through.
In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light in color and fluffy. Add the egg and melted chocolate and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and 1 tablespoon of milk.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
The resulting dough will be sticky. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer until firm, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C.
Using your hands, shape about 1 tablespoon of dough into a 1-inch ball. Roll the ball into confectioners sugar 2 times. Let the balls sit in icing sugar as you proceed with the rest of the cookies. They should be completely covered so you can't see any cookie dough.
Place on a parchment lined (or silpat) cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
Bake about 12-15 minutes until the cookies are cracked but not browned on the bottom.
Allow to cool.
This chocolate espresso cake with cooked flour buttercream was inspired by some coffee research my husband and I were doing for another project. We aren’t coffee drinkers, we are tea drinkers, but I had a craving for a delicious espresso buttercream frosting, and this is it. This is the first time in my life I wanted more frosting on my cake. I could have eaten it just on its own. I used a cooked flour frosting for the first time, at the suggestion of my sister-in-law who has her own bake shop on Etsy. It was light with a substantial consistency for spreading. The flavor reminded me of marshmallows. Espresso buttercream marshmallows.
This is what happened to my cake just three days after I made it. Don’t worry, that last piece didn’t go to waste. I ate it with my fingers. This cake was so good; it may just trump my third chocolate cake, with mousse filling and port wine frosting. That cake was to die for.
Now that I’m on my fifth chocolate cake, I’m feeling like a pro-with the cake part. My cakes are coming out consistently moist, rich and chocolaty. The cake decorating part is another story. I’m a complete newbie when it comes to piping, or just icing a cake. I keep trying, thinking in my head that my attempts at using a piping bag will somehow come out perfect without lots and lots of practice. When I actually apply that piping bag and start squirting out the icing, something else happens entirely. My rosettes come out shaky, my rim decoration is uneven…I’m all over the place. To cover up my ineptitude, I’ve started photographing my cakes in the background, all out of focus, which is sad, because they taste really, really, good.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans. I use a paper towel to smear the butter around, and then tilt the pans over the sink to make sure the flour covers every bit of the pan. You can line them with parchment on the bottom, but my cakes came out fine without.
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, blend together the buttermilk (or milk and sour cream), oil, eggs and vanilla. Using an electric mixer on a low speed, slowly combine the wet and dry ingredients. Once combined, mix in the hot coffee.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until they are done and a wooden cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 30 minutes, and then remove them from the pans to cool on a wire rack.
When cool, stack and frost the layers with buttercream.
Whisk together flour and milk in a small saucepan, first adding the flour, then a small amount of cold milk until you have a smooth paste. Add the rest of the milk, vanilla and instant espresso, whisking so there are no lumps. Over medium heat, continue to whisk, until the mixture is thick.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring every now and then so a crust does not form.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the cooled flour mixture and continue to beat on high until it is light and fluffy, like whipped cream.