Hye Thyme Cafe: Toasted Almond Panna Cotta

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Toasted Almond Panna Cotta

Toasted Almond Panna Cotta : Hye Thyme Cafe

One of my favorite cocktails has always been a Toasted Almond, which is Kahlua, Disaronno, and cream ... or milk ... or ice cream if you're doing a dessert version. For some reason, I was driving home from the office one day last week and this idea popped into my head. Making a Panna Cotta in clear coffee mugs with a Kahlua/coffee base and Disaronno "sugar cubes" on top. Yes, I realize that sugar cubes don't actually float on top of your coffee.

This was a cute idea that was delicious, but poorly executed. Well, not that bad, but I do need to tweak it.  

My first problem is that I never make coffee at home. I leave that to the nice folks down the street at Dunkin Donuts.   We do have a Keurig coffee maker at the house, but I have never used it before. Being home alone at the time, aside from the fact that it took me a while to find and figure out how to use the loose-grind filter instead of the pre-made K-Cups (so I could use Dunkin Donuts coffee of course), I also didn't realize that I couldn't make a strong cup of coffee using the Keurig. It came out pretty light, so that led to another problem.

My next problem was the gelatin ratio. I knew I would need more gelatin in the coffee part than in the sugar cubes, but I mis-calculated, so the cubes came out a little rubbery. As for the coffee, because the real coffee was so light, even after adding the Kahlua, it was still too light, so I added a little more, and a little more...  so it turned out a little too loose. Of course that's also what made it taste so good!  ;)

I'm not sure why this was the case, but for some reason, it also had that kind of greasy feel to it like when someone makes whipped cream with too much sugar. I have only made Panna Cotta once, and that turned out great. It was a Limoncello version that I made using brown sugar rather than white. I used the same amount of sugar with the same amount of cream as the last time. Hmmmm??? I think next time I'll try using less sugar and/or a lighter cream to see what the difference is.

I also decided that next time, I'll either start with a cup of black coffee from Dunkies, cold brew the coffee like for iced coffee so it comes out darker, or use a coffee syrup. It occurred to me later that there really wasn't a reason to separate the Kahlua and Disaronno. I can use them both in the coffee part and just use a little almond extract in the cubes. That way, they won't get tinted from the Amaretto. I also realized once it was in the fridge that even though I couldn't come up with anything square in the kitchen to mold the cube part in, I could have lined a jewelry box with foil. That would have worked perfectly!

Here's the recipe as I did it, in case someone wants to play around with the idea. I'll update when I do it again. Hey, any excuse to play some more with three of my favorites - coffee/Kahlua/Amaretto!

1 c strong (dark) coffee
3t unflavored gelatin, separated
2 t Disaronno Amaretto
1 T Kahlua+
2 c heavy cream
1/2 sugar
Almond extract
PAM cooking spray
In a small bowl, dissolve 2t gelatin in the 1T Kahlua. In another small bowl, dissolve the additional 1t gelatin in the Amaretto.
Whisk the sugar into the cream over medium heat and bring just to a boil, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat, pour 1/2c into a small bowl (spray with PAM), stirring in the Amaretto gelatin to dissolve.  To boost the flavor without affecting the color, I added a few drops of extract.  Stir the Kahlua gelatin/coffee into the pot with the cream, then distribute evenly into your coffee mugs.
Toasted Almond Panna Cotta : Hye Thyme Cafe
Chill to set until ready to serve.   Invert the bowl with the Amaretto part and cut into cubes.  Top the "coffee" with the "sugar cubes" and enjoy.

 Toasted Almond Panna Cotta : Hye Thyme Cafe 

Toasted Almond Panna Cotta : Hye Thyme CafeToasted Almond Panna Cotta : Hye Thyme CafeToasted Almond Panna Cotta : Hye Thyme Cafe

Toasted Almond Panna Cotta : Hye Thyme Cafe


  1. Those are my 3 favorite flavors too! I'd gobble this up.

  2. See, great minds do think alike! ;)


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