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Cherry-Topped Almond Panna Cotta



Pour 1/4 cup milk into small microwave-safe bowl.
Sprinkle gelatin over; stir to blend.
Let stand 5 minutes to soften gelatin.
Heat cream, 5 tablespoons sugar, and remaining 3/4 cup milk in small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles begin to form around edge of pan, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Stir in almond extract and vanilla extract.
Heat gelatin mixture in microwave on low power until gelatin dissolves, stirring every 15 seconds, about 45 seconds.
Stir gelatin mixture into warm milk mixture.
Let stand 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Divide mixture among eight 3/4-cup glasses or compote dishes.
Cover each with plastic; chill until set, about 4 hours.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead.
Keep chilled.
Stir almonds and 1 tablespoon sugar in small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until nuts are toasted and sugar melts and coats nuts, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.
Transfer candied almonds to plate to cool, stirring occasionally.
Place cherries, almond liqueur (if using), and remaining 4 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl; toss to coat.
Let stand until sugar dissolves and juices form, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Divide cherries with juices among glasses.
Sprinkle candied almonds over and serve.