Coconut Sugar Panna Cotta with Berry Compote and Roasted Hazelnuts

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panna cotta 1

I cook a lot.  Like a lot.  Lucky for me, I have a very willing taste taster that I happen to be married to.  He trades his excellent dishwashing skills for plate after plate of nourishing, delicious meals… and I get a clean kitchen and uncensored feedback in return. 

We’re both content with the terms of the deal, I’d say.  

cream pour 25 While he makes his very best effort to always eat healthy, the man is a sucker for sweets.  He’s hardly deprived digestively, but desserts don’t make their rounds as often as he would like in our house.  In part because I’m not a huge fan of them, but mainly because I’m ardently opposed to sugar.  He totally is with me on the negative effects of the stuff, but that doesn’t stop him from accepting the sweets that my mom and dad smuggle into his jacket pockets every time we visit. (true story)

It’s ok.  We all have our vices.

coconut sugar

So when my mom made a dessert with coconut sugar, I thought we had finally found the perfect solution to satisfying my sweet heart’s insatiable sweet tooth. 

The stuff is good, y’all. 

Coconut sugar is produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm.  It has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in South East Asia.  And contrary to some articles floating around on the internet, the healthy sugar substitute is a sustainable resource that can actually benefit the environment by restoring damaged soil.

Pretty sweet news.

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To celebrate, I decided to make my husband’s favorite dessert, panna cotta.  It keeps him from sneaking Snickers at work, and it’s a good way to get a little more gelatin into our diet.  It’s crazy easy to make even though it looks like you put a lot of effort into it.  Its silky, creamy texture falls somewhere between jello and pudding and it’s the perfect way to end a nice meal.

If you’re into that sort of thing.


Because I’m a fan of texture, I added some roasted hazelnuts to this panna cotta.  I think the crunch really compliments the rich, smooth spoonful.  K preferred his without the nuts.  These differences really are what makes the world go ’round.

Nuts or no nuts- what kind of person are you?

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The berry compote is something you just can’t leave off, however.  Of all the bags living in the freezer section, frozen berries are my favorite.  Don’t discount frozen fruits and veggies, a lot of times they are even healthier than fresh ones.  That is because they are picked at the peak of ripeness, and their beneficial nutrients stay put once frozen, unlike fresh produce that starts to lose nutrients each day it goes uneaten. (source)  They’re also super convenient and affordable.

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I make a quick compote with frozen berries a few times a week just to have over yogurt or with a dollop of crรจme fraiche.

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But these little cups might just be my new favorite way to enjoy it.  Hungry husband tested, health blogger wife approved.

Adapted from The Kitchn. 

Coconut Sugar Panna Cotta with Berry Compote and Roasted Hazelnuts

10 minutes

Coconut Sugar Panna Cotta with Berry Compote and Roasted Hazelnuts


    For the panna cotta
  • 1.5 cup whole milk, organic or pasture raised
  • 1 cup heavy cream, organic or pasture raised
  • 2.5 tsp gelatin
  • 2 tbs coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    For the compote
  • 2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
  • juice from one orange
  • touch of honey (optional)
    to serve
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts


  1. Add milk to a saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over top. Allow to soften for about 5 minutes before adding pan to heat.
  2. After gelatin has softened, gently warm milk, whisking frequently. Continue to whisk on low heat, without letting milk come to a simmer, until gelatin has completely dissolved. (A spoon dipped into milk should not appear grainy when removed)
  3. Stir in coconut sugar and continue to stir until it dissolves completely. Remove from heat and whisk in cream, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt. Pour into 4 glasses and chill for at least 1 hour
  4. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove and give the pan a little shake. If the brown skin has cracked on most of the nuts, remove. If not, continue to roast for an additional 2-5 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  5. Transfer nuts to a tea towel, and rub to remove skin. Don't worry about removing all of it. Chop nuts into smaller pieces and reserve.
  6. Add berries to a small saucepan along with the juice of one orange and optional touch of honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, simmering until juice has reduced.
  7. Right before serving, spoon compote over chilled panna cotta and sprinkle with hazelnuts.


*for the compote I used frozen blackberries, blueberries, and rasberries *panna cotta isn't an overly sweet dessert. Adding a little honey to the berry compote will make a sweeter dessert.

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And no more sneaking around with the desserts.  


2 responses to “Coconut Sugar Panna Cotta with Berry Compote and Roasted Hazelnuts”

  1. Hi do you mean 2 tbs coconut sugar in your ingredients? It doesnt seem like enough. Does it make the panna come out brown or darker than usual?

    • Hi Liz. YES – oh my gosh thanks for pointing that out I just updated! And yes it’s not a lot of sugar so the dessert is subtly sweet, I’d taste and add more before chilling if you like it a little sweeter! Also, it doesn’t make it brown, just a little cream colored ๐Ÿ™‚

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