Daring Baker’s Challenge, Milan Cookies
I dedicate the following to the multi-talented and amazing Nicole ….PLEASE visit her lovely site:(http://sweetendingz.blogspot.com/). And always and forever my thanks and praise to our lovely hostesses of, The Daring Baker’s Challenge: Lis, http://llcskitchen.blogspot.com/ and Ivonne, http://www.creampuffsinvenice.ca/ . We are better because of our mentors. Thanks so much for pushing us to be the best we can at an endeavor we so adore. :)
I’m running out of time to complete this months full challenge, Nicole gives us the option to make and bake two recipes, or just one, but let’s face it, both of her offerings are divine. I opted to begin by making the Milan cookies. Hopefully tomorrow will allow me a non-humid day and I can bake item #2, Mallows, a Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookie. I simply saved it for last due to never having made a homemade marshmallow. I’ve always wanted to, but I’ve never had an opportunity to splurge and spoil myself with both marshmallow AND chocolate. With my birthday approaching the end of the week, I think this would be a lovely surprise to share with my best buds. (Sadly, I won’t be able to taste test them for fear of having a major diet-blowout). FINALLY, I found the perfect dress to wear to my daughters upcoming wedding in September. It sits in my closet as a sweet reminder that there is a reason to forego the sweeter and heavier sugar and fat loaded treats I so adore. Besides, I’ll be running through final cupcake test trials in a few weeks and I will be FORCED to taste to be sure my choices are perfected.
Enough about me. On to these sweet, precious and gorgeous Milan’s. They proved the perfect treat for my girlfriends birthday gift. She loves chocolate, adores nuts and shares in my love of a homebaked treat over a store-bought surprise.
I found the dough a bit unique. I tried piping (and even chilling) the dough figuring that I might discover a ‘new’ way to form/shape these tasty wafers. But alas, this dough doesn’t hold up, only flares and fills its own space upon the parchment paper that holds it during its bake. No problem, though, I consider it a lesson learned and something to play with in the future should the urge strike (maybe a stiffer dough that will hold a scallop or other design for that lovely chocolate filling).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- 12 tablespoons (170 grams/ 6 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/11.02 oz.) powdered (confectioners) sugar
- 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs….took me 7, but my eggies were smaller, I guess*)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract (I opted to use 1 Tablespoon due to the strength of Bourbon vanilla I use*)
- 2 tablespoons lemon extract (I did not have extract, but pure lemon oil, I used 1/4 tsp. pure oil*)
- 1 1/2 cups (187.5 grams/6.61 oz.) all-purpose flour
Cookie filling (oh yummy!)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I opted for a bittersweet, cuz I’m a rebel)
- 1 orange (oops…had to use a tangelo, thing was tricky trying to zest, but flavor was spot-on!*)
*Ingredient adjustments were my own, I highly recommend you follow Gale’s lovely recipe. My adjustments were okay, but I’ll bet Gale’s were spot-on perfect, too! :)
In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar. (I whipped it until it was light and fluffy*) Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and the lemon extract (lemon oil, in my case). Add the flour and mix until just well mixed. (Don’t over beat them thar eggs, we don’t want rubber-ized cookies, ya know ;) ) 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 ….. cuz honey, these dudes are gonna spread!
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let them cool on the pan!!!!!!! You are asking for trouble if you try to lift these babies while they are warm. Although, if you have a few that dated-and-mated on the sheet, now is the time to cut them apart, carefully, using a sharp edge of a spatula or knife.
While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan, over medium flame/heat, scald cream. CAREFUL, this will not take long, so don’t wander over to the sink to do dishes, or ice down that beverage. Just stand there and watch that little saucepan! Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate and add zest, blending well. Set this aside to cool. (The mixture will thicken as it cools).
Set up your work area, free of all clutter, dust, dog and cat hair (oops, pardon me, those were my specific instructions.)
Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and then press the flatt side of a second cookie on top. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.
I danced around the kitchen with a jar of almonds and my beloved cacao nibs. That jig I was doing got really wild when I discovered I had about 1/4 cup of white Callebaut chocolate chunks. With wild abandon I set out to fancy myself as a prodigy of none other than the sweetheart, David Lebovitz, www.davidlebovitz.com I pretended he was showing me how to be successful with left over stash from cabinets and cupboards. We drank coffee and laughed ourselves silly as the afternoon spilled over into a lovely sunset. Before I knew it, he was gone. Poof! Alas, I had found my merriment ending as he went about his journeys. (P.S. Okay, so he wasn’t really here, but his ideas were in full force. For anyone that reads his blog you will know that he is all about using up those little items that keep hanging around taking up space. I did just that with that lovely white chocolate. I’ll bet Carol ate her birthday cookies never knowing the chocolate drizzle was made from a leftover, and those almonds I toasted had been opened weeks earlier, but hidden in the recesses of the once-again-working freezer. I promise the cacao nibs were fresh though. Somehow I had forgotten I’d hidden them behind the canned goods for fear that I’d eat them on one of my late-night forages.)