27 July 2009
Milano cookies are one of my favorite commercial (as opposed to homemade) cookies so I was pretty stoked to see that one of the two recipes for this month's Daring Bakers Challenge was for a homemade Milano style cookie by Gail Gand. I knew I would be traveling so resolved to make these cookies early in the month and give them to a professor of mine as a thank you gift.
The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.
I set to making the cookies, making a few modifications (bad Daring Baker, I know, but I couldn't help myself). Not everyone loves citrus with chocolate and as as the cookies were a gift, I decided to leave out the lemon extract. Without the lemon to balance out the 2T of vanilla extract, I thought 1T would be more than enough to flavor the cookies. The batter came together quickly but looked much to thin to make cookies and then I (figuratively) smacked myself on the head as I realized I forgot to add the flour. Disaster averted, at least for the time being.
Pastry bag improvised, cookies piped and in the oven. 7 minutes later, one gigantic burnt cookie mess comes out of the oven. The cookies had completely run together and burnt. Crud. Scrape trays and start over. Next go, about half of the cookies came out useable. Third go and a few lessons learned. Pipe very small dots, not lines of batter, and leave 3 inches between the dots. Watch them carefully and pull out as soon as the edges get golden. Use parchment or tin foil and pull off the hot sheets immediately, then remove while still a little warm. Ok- method down, several rounds later I have dozens of wafer thin cookies in varying shapes and sizes.
Ganache made without problems and then the fun begins. I spread out a layer of cookies and played a matching game, trying to put them in relatively equally spaced pairs, held together with the ganache.
Finally, I finished making all the cookie sandwiches and rewarding myself by eating the remaining ganache with a spoon. The finished cookies looked pretty, if a bit rustic in their uneveness. The vanilla taste was a bit too strong for me, even though I had halved it, but overall they were good but perhaps not quite worth the trouble when it's so easy to buy a bag...
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested
1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.