Herbal Desserts For Valentine's Day: Milk Chocolate-Lavender Panna Cotta

| February/March 2007

Lavender is for “loyalty.” And a loyal following you will have once you serve this silky custard. If you’re a novice at combining herbs with sweets, this is a safe place to start. The understated lavender bouquet adds a delicate floral suggestion, especially when paired with rich milk chocolate. MAKES ABOUT FIVE 3/4 CUP SERVINGS

• 1/4 cup cold water
• 1 envelope powdered unflavored gelatin (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
• 1 cup whole milk
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms
• 5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
• 8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


• Whipped cream
• Fresh lavender sprigs (at least 5)

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

2. Meanwhile, combine milk, cream and lavender blossoms in saucepan. Bring to scalding point over medium heat and turn off. Steep about 30 minutes.

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