Chocolate Almond Panna Cotta with Cherry Sauce
This panna cotta is made with almond milk, making it dairy-free and lower in calories! There is no added sugar and it packs an intense punch of deep, rich chocolate. Fresh summer cherries provide a sweet and fruity counterpoint to this gluten-free, no-bake dessert. Try making it vegan with agar agar or vegetarian gelatin!
Omg, you guys. I cannot even stand myself lately.
I am getting so fat. Sorry, real talk. That number on the scale just keeps creeping up and up and up. Ugh!
Can I blame it on you? This blog? Or maybe it’s just my age? Am I really eating that much??? I thought I was being pretty good…?
Who knows. Whatever it is, I have to put a stop to it. I’d love to be all, “I’m just happy to be healthy,” and “I love my curves,” but really, I just feel so uncomfortable in my clothes, and the fact that it’s summer and everything’s on display does NOT help matters. So, I downloaded this app on my phone to help me stay on track. Now that my kids are older and more independent, I DEFINITELY need to make an effort to move around more, so I’m resolving to do a minimum of 20 minutes, 4 days a week on my elliptical, and hopefully I can squeeze some strength training in too, in the form of a yoga routine here and there on onDemand. (Maybe putting all this out there will make me more accountable, lol!) After entering in all of this info, my phone tells me I can eat 1,200 calories a day, and I should lose a pound a week. Sounds reasonable enough, right?
But noooooooooo! Seriously, you guys, that is soooo much harder than it sounds! Take yesterday as an example.
- Double shot of espresso with 1/2 cup 2% milk and a teaspoon of sugar
- One slice whole wheat toast with 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter and a teaspoon of honey
- One cup of gazpacho
- Two Wasa Crispbreads with one wedge of Laughing Cow cheese
- One skinless chicken thigh
- 1/2 cup white beans cooked (with herbs & lemon) in chicken stock
- Half a dozen Kalamata olives
Ok, so I’m 90 calories over for the day.
Did I mention I was starving??? Like, all day???
And also, did you notice, NO COOKIES???
Seriously. This is going to be hard.
Maybe this will be the toughest week, as my stomach shrinks and my body suffers from symptoms of cookie withdrawal. Or maybe I just need to find lower-calorie meal options that are more satisfying. Bearing that in mind, I bring you this richly satisfying treat that is packed with intense chocolate flavor, offers fresh seasonal fruit, and clocks in at a little under 150 calories per serving. Also it’s gluten and dairy-free, woot!
This dessert is super-simple to put together. I mean, you don’t even have to turn your oven on! In my book, that gets major points in the month of July. 😉
You are going to love the rich, deep, and intense chocolate flavor of the panna cotta, with that subtly nutty back note. And the creamy, pudding-like texture is so refreshing in the summertime!
Those sweet, juicy cherries provide such fresh and seasonal contrast. I am a huge lover of the cherry/chocolate combo! Black forest FTW, baby.
Bathing suit season may already be half over, but it’s never too late to feel a little better about yourself and the food choices you’re making, right? With this recipe, you don’t have to deny yourself dessert. This one is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, low cal, low fat, no-bake, and super satisfying. 😉
So, what do you think? Am I going to be able to maintain this for the next twelve weeks to reach my goal? Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? How did you deal with it? Do you have any ideas for me, for low-cal meals that will help me feel fuller and less deprived? Can’t wait to hear your comments…!
*Also just want to quickly mention that if you don’t already have one of these, it’s worth it’s weight in gold for bakers, moms of small children, and cherry lovers in general! Makes quick work of the pits and it works for olives as well. I love mine!*
**This recipe was included in Foodie Recipes’ Summer Harvest Cookbook App, available on iTunes**
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Chocolate Almond Panna Cotta with Cherry Sauce
For the Chocolate Almond Panna Cotta
- 1 cup (236.59 ml) unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, (extract can be substituted)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 ounce (7.09 g) unflavored gelatin, (1 packet)
- 4 ounces (113.4 g) semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup (138 g) fresh cherries,, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup (59.15 ml) water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
To Make the Chocolate Almond Panna Cotta:
- Place the almond milk, vanilla, salt, and almond extract in a small pot.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface and set aside for five minutes.
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
- Warm the almond milk mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until barely simmering.
- Stir in the chopped chocolate until completely melted and well incorporated.
- Divide the mixture equally into four individual dessert dishes, and chill until set (about 2 hours).
To Make the Cherry Sauce:
- Place all of the ingredients in a small pot and cook over medium heat until thickened.
- Cool completely and spoon over the panna cottas.
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Where do you find Vanilla Bean Paste?
Hi Marianne! That vanilla paste is so good! I buy mine here: http://astore.amazon.com/yinmomyangmom-20/detail/B002HQE11O, but I’ve had readers tell me they’ve found it at Sur la Table, Williams Sonoma, King Arthur Flour, and even Home Goods! I hope you get your hands on some, the flavor is so great!
It was way too firm and too sweet.
Hey Dee, I’m so sorry you weren’t happy with the result. Since there’s no added sugar in the recipe, I can only assume the culprit was your chocolate. When I developed the recipe, I used Ghirardelli brand, 60% cacao, so it’s a really good quality semisweet. Also I used Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk. So, if you’re using a sweeter chocolate or a sweetened almond milk then I’m sure your end product would end up a lot sweeter. Again, I’m sorry the panna cotta did not suit your taste but I do thank you for reading my blog and trying one of my recipes. Hope you enjoy the weekend! 🙂
Is recipe looks awesome! I’ve had success making panna cotta with canned coconut milk too. As for the weight gain, try cutting out the bread, milk & beans! It basically turns to sugar in our bodies. Good protein, fat & vegetables are where it’s at! Then you don’t even have to count calories! 🙂
Thanks so much for the great advice, Catherine! Since the time I published this post, I’m down about 9 pounds, which I’m pretty happy about since I’m only 5 feet tall, lol! The calorie counting app was a great way to help me understand how bad my eating habits had gotten. After a couple of weeks, I got the hang of how to do better, and I didn’t need the app any more. I did just like you said, and added lots more fruit and veg to my diet. I didn’t know about beans though… I thought they were a good protein source but ok! I don’t eat them much anyway, they upset my tummy.
I hope you get a chance to make this dessert. It totally blew my mind, no joke. It is so unbelievably rich and chocolatey and satisfying, even for a non-diet dessert!
Thanks so much for reading and for the great comment!
Same here, Allie 🙁 But now we decided to resort to Kinect and doing exercise became a lot more fun! (No, we don’t have any kids. I bought it for my husband as a gift for finishing his doctorate!)
Oh, I wish I had Kinect! We have a Wii but it’s an older one and it doesn’t have that cool technology… maybe time for an upgrade! Hey, congrats to your husband!!!
Panna Cotta is amazing! Pinning it to try this one out!
Hey thanks Reba! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!! 😀
Not that you asked me, and not that it’s any of my business, but you put it out there so I just have to weigh in. I fought weight for forty years, dieting, cutting back on portions, insanely low calorie counts. I lost the battle. Carried over a hundred pounds for almost that entire time.
I couldn’t help but notice that your food log is practically devoid of fresh fruits and vegetables. I found when I quit all the processed stuff and ate TONS of fresh fruits and veggies, beans, nuts and seeds, the weight issue took care of itself on its own. Quickly, easily and deliciously. When you DON’T give the body what it is screaming for, it just keeps asking for more and more and more, in a desperate search for real nutrients.
The secret isn’t lower calories. It’s higher nutrients. I’m no expert, but Dr. Joel Furhman, who wrote Eat to Live is. If you’re tired of staving, you might want to check him out.
That said, having had my green juice and big kale salad for the day, I’m off to the kitchen to make your gorgeous panna cotta, only I’ll be using stevia or agave in place of the sugar. Thanks so for the recipe — and for knowing that this is posted with zero judgement but a lot of love sent in your direction.
Hey, Anna! Please don’t feel bad about putting your two cents in, I did kinda ask, y’know? I mean I was looking for tips & stuff. And actually, I am a big proponent of avoiding processed foods. It’s actually one of the main motivations behind this blog! I prefer to eat, as much as possible, fresh and from scratch. And for my family too! The lunch I had listed for that day is one of my favorite recipes, ever! I make it with produce from my backyard garden, and it’s almost entirely fresh and raw fruits and vegetables. You can view that recipe here: http://yinmomyangmom.com/2012/07/12/summers-bounty/. It contains 5 servings of fruits/veg and is super delish! But, sadly, not very filling :(. And I think that was probably the problem for me that day. I will definitely check out Dr. Joel Furhman, like you suggested. The weight loss battle is such a difficult one! Ugh. I’m so glad that you found a solution that works so well for you. I’m still trying to figure out what’s going to work for me, maybe it’s calorie counting, or maybe it will be something else, but I do really appreciate your input, and I’ll take it into consideration for sure! I hope you enjoy the panna cotta! Please be sure to let me know, ok? And love to you as well… <3
p.s. In phases when I have a few pounds too much, I try to reduce carbs and especially eat no carbs for dinner ( I truly hate it but it works…). On those days, whenever I’m hungry I eat 2 hard boiled eggs as a snack and in general I eat more protein as usual… It keeps me full and I survive the day without being super cranky 😉
Great tips, Amy. I need all the help I can get! Ugh… Well, thanks for the encouragement and I’m glad you enjoyed my cherry recipe! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend! <3
oh dear I’m sure you look gorgeous!! I feel that I tend to gain weight in summer too, due to the heat I can’t exercise as regular as I wish. (And yes, bikinis and shorts does NOT help!!). I’m sure you must have been starving with this minimal food intake you described!! ugh…
But your panna cotta looks and sounds like the prefect no-gain-weight summer dessert!! And here’s your cherry recipe 🙂 Love it!!
Hi 🙂 I’d love for you to come by and share this delicious recipe at my Saturday Spotlight Link Party, my readers would love it. Hope to see you there!
Hey, April! Thanks for the invite! I’ll be right over 😉
This looks divine! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!
Thanks, Karly! 😀
I have never made a panna cotta before, but you make it look easy enough. Good luck with your weight loss journey.
It was my first time, Lydia, and it was really easy! Perfect summer dessert. Thanks so much for reading, and for the encouragement!