Bacon Florentines and Bourbon Panna Cotta

If you've never given thought to bacon in a cookie, it's time to think again. Bacon, maple, brown sugar, and some flour for good measure come together to form an offbeat florentine cookie as a tasty accent to Bourbon Panna Cotta. 
Bacon Florentines and Bourbon Panna Cotta recipe from
It's not often that the little diddy "one of these things is not like the other" applies to me. The most peculiar aspect of me is an atypical personality stuck in an average, run of the mill, just like the other shell. Average height, weight, hair color, eye color, etc. I'm an American living in America, which is not particularly special except in some places out west where terms such as seasonal, day or dirt cheap are used to describe the labor force. 

As a typical American I am highly jealous of my friend Tim, who is called Tim mainly because, as typical Americans, it is not expected of us to be able to pronounce Pakistani names. Tim has a background that never ceases to remind me how typical my demographics are. He is Pakistani and Islamic yet went to a Catholic primer school, a Mormon College, and has an excessive knowledge of the Tom and Jerry show. I remember once thinking "huh, that sounds like Tim"...and it was Tim...on BBC. Today I spent the afternoon in a pub on Capital Hill with Tim, and am now convinced I need to move abroad so I can be counted equally exotic. 

One of the few examples of a time when I was demographically atypical was one we laughed over again at the pub. Six years ago I showed up to a midnight soccer game because one, I was invited, and two, I had nothing better to do at midnight on a Thursday (I also apparently have nothing better to do at midnight on a Saturday than write this post). Everyone else invited read like a game of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego: two men from Mali, one from Tanzania, two from Brazil, one from Sweden, Tim from Pakistan, and the All-American girl. As a reminder that I had no business on this field I was asked to play keep. Wearing my ignorance on my sleeve I questioned what that meant and without any real explanation was told not to worry about it because "the ball will never make it to you anyway." Luckily that was true, and to bury myself deeper I unfortunately made a bet with Zebron from Tanzania that someday my children would beat his children at soccer. If you know any professional soccer players looking to settle down and have a few kids, let them know they are my only hope. 

Since today reminded me I won't be winning the award for most interesting person in the world award, perhaps instead I can get an honorable mention for most odd use of bacon. It may not impress Tim, as he does not eat bacon, but I'll take what I can get. Let's hope it does impress my fellow daring bakers who also have been showing off their skills. The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.  Cheers to all who participated and an extra cheer for Tim, a good friend who I hope to someday "out exotic."

Bourbon Brown Sugar Panna Cotta

4 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
4 cups half and half
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 tsp. vanilla

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over two cups of half and half. Let stand until gelatin softens, about one minute. 

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together two cups of half and half, brown sugar, bourbon and vanilla. Heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. 

Combine the two mixtures, strain through a fine mesh sieve and ladle into roughly 8 half cup ramekins. 

Refrigerate for 8 hours. 

To unmold, dip the bottom of each ramekin into a bowl of warm water for about five seconds. Invert panna cotta onto a plate. Serve with a bacon maple florentine. 

Bacon Maple Florentine
adapted from Food Network

2 ounces flour
2 ounces brown sugar
2 ounces bacon grease, solidified
2 ounces maple syrup
2 ounces sliced almonds
2 ounces crispy bacon, crumbled 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Use a small melon baller or your hands to form round teaspoon sized balls. Place two inches apart on a silpat mat and bake for about 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing to a wire rack.