Chocolate Coconut Panna Cotta
Happy holiday season! The time of year has arrived when you get to start stressing out about what to bring to all those holiday parties and get-togethers. Yay! I am here to take that stress away and replace it with an ultra simple, delicious, yet impressive dessert that you even can make several days ahead of time.
This chocolate coconut panna cotta is super flavorful and rich feeling, but actually on the lighter side of desserts. If you haven’t had it before, panna cotta is an Italian dessert that translates to “cooked cream”. It is essentially a flavored milk or cream set (given structure) with gelatin. So, kinda like milk jello, but way better than that sounds, I promise. Traditional panna cotta is made with cream of course, but swapping that for lower fat milk still makes an awesome and satisfying dessert with much less fat and calories.
In this version, I used light coconut milk for something a little different. Dark chocolate gets swirled in to richen it up before Greek yogurt finishes it off with for a smooth, thick texture that is substantial yet melts in your mouth. Top it off with contrasting crunch from chocolate and toasted coconut flakes for a seemingly fancy, but actually super easy dessert.
This recipe is great any day or time, but it is extra convenient during the busy holiday season as it only takes a couple minutes of active time and you can make it several days in advance to skip all that last minute rushing. I really like this recipe not only because it gets you bringing something a little different to the table, but it also isn’t very heavy or high in calories. After a big holiday meal, that might be exactly what you need. Enjoy!
Chocolate Coconut Panna Cotta
Makes 4-6 servings
1 13.5oz. (400ml) can light coconut milk
1 packet (~1 tbs./.25oz.) plain gelatin powder
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract (optional)
½ cup (75g) dark chocolate chips/chopped
¾ cup (190g) non-fat Greek yogurt
toasted coconut flakes
chopped dark chocolate
In a bowl combine ½ cup of the coconut milk and the gelatin. Stir to combine and set aside. It will look clumpy and very weird, but don’t worry, it will all be ok.
In a small or medium saucepan combine the remaining coconut milk, the sugar, extracts, and salt. Heat on medium-high to bring to a simmer. Add the gelatin-coconut mixture and stir to combine. The liquid should thicken a little. When back to a simmer, add in the chocolate and turn off the heat. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted and evenly distributed. If needed, you can turn the heat back on a little to help it melt.
Remove from the stove and whisk in the yogurt until totally smooth. Divide into 4-6 equal sized portions. Cover and chill in the fridge ideally overnight, or for ~6 hours until completely set.
Serve with toasted coconut flakes and chopped chocolate.
Extras will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Notes: Full fat coconut milk and Greek yogurt can be used to make a richer panna cotta, but will obviously add more fat and calories. Because light coconut milk has a more delicate coconut flavor, coconut extract helps boost the coconuttiness of the dessert. However, if you don’t have it or don’t want to use it, the panna cotta will still be awesome without the coconut extract. Don’t like coconut? Use regular low fat milk instead of the coconut milk and skip the coconut extract for a chocolate panna cotta.
***If you add 1 tsp. almond extract this would be like an almond joy panna cotta, and I don’t think anyone would be mad about that.