Milk Chocolate-Lavander Panna Cotta


Ingredients
1/4 cup cold water
1 envelope powdered unflavored gelatin (about 21/4 teaspoons)
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms (available at most specialty spice stores)
5 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

Garnish (optional):
Whipped cream
Fresh lavender sprigs (at least five)


Preparation

1. Clean and dry five 8 to 10-ounce wine glasses. Set aside.

2. Pour cold water into top bowl of small double boiler. Sprinkle gelatin uniformly over water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until gelatin has completely absorbed water.

3. Meanwhile combine milk, cream and lavender blossoms in stainless steel saucepan. Place over medium heat, bring to scalding point and turn off heat.  Allow lavender to steep in warm milk mixture for about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt gelatin over low heat on top of double boiler. Turn off heat once gelatin has melted.

5. Using stainless steel fine-mesh sieve, strain milk mixture into another stainless steel saucepan to remove lavender.  Press any excess fluid from blossoms through sieve. Place saucepan over low heat.

6. Add chopped chocolate and confectioners' sugar. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted and mixture is completely smooth.

7. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in melted gelatin, making sure it is evenly  distributed. Whisk in vanilla.

8. Strain mixture through fine-mesh sieve into large measuring cup or container with pouring spout. Pour mixture into wine glasses and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Cover with plastic and chill another 5 hours until completely set.

9. Garnish each dessert with dollop of whipped cream and sprig of fresh lavender, as desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe developed by Julia M. Usher

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