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I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I love stories about vampires. Especially the vamps of True Blood and Charlaine Harris’s addictive Sookie Stackhouse novels. Unlike vampire tales that focus on restraint, True Blood is a story of a strong southern woman entering the vampire world of visceral excess: An extravaganza of sex, blood, and southern charm. How fantastic is that?!

This gelatin isn’t the first time I experimented with gore (see Halloween Part One and Part Two). But, this is the first time I’m breaking one of my gelatin tenants: No food coloring.  While I thought long and hard about this, I figured a red velvet panna cotta warranted breaking my arbitrary rule.

This red velvet panna cotta consists of whipping cream, buttermilk, cocoa, red food dye, and bourbon – so yummingly southern! My Okie and Texan roots are proud. Oh yeah, it tastes pretty fantastic too. Just like a creamy and boozy red velvet should.

Recipe for 10 cups

Red Velvet top layer

  • 2 packets Knox gelatin
  • 1 cup whole milk for blooming gelatin
  • 2 ½ cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • Red food dye

Sprinkle the gelatin on top of 1 cup cold milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan heat up cream, buttermilk, and sugar. Add cocoa a little bit at a time and stir thoroughly. Once sugar and cocoa dissolves, pour over the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves.  Strain mixture to remove powdered cocoa clumps – and there will be clumps! Next, stir in red food dye until desired color is achieved – I added a lot. Pour into mold(s) and refrigerate until almost set. It should stick to your fingers when slightly touched.

Bourbon and Cream bottom layer

  • 2 packets Knox gelatin
  • 1 cup whole milk for blooming
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla (or to taste)

Sprinkle gelatin on top of 1 cup cold milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan heat up cream and sugar. Once sugar dissolves, pour over the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in vanilla and bourbon. Refrigerate until not set, but cool. Spoon into mold(s) as the second layer. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

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