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.
The Daring Bakers have made all sorts of challenging desserts, some before my time and some since I joined two years ago. I’ll never forget my first, the Strawberry Mirror Cake, which challenged both my skills and patience; or last year’s Filbert Gateau, which tasted fabulous but took me 15 hours to make; or the Opera Cake and the weeks I spent planning and practicing for it. Yes, we have done our share of difficult challenges. This month the challenge was easier though no less enjoyable, and actually it couldn’t have come at a better time as I need a little breathing room until summer vacation time is over and the kids are back in school.
We were challenged to make versions of two popular cookies, Milanos and Mallomars, and we could choose to do either or both. Since I’ve been working very hard to loose some extra pounds this summer doing a boot camp and now also spinning, I thought one of the cookies would be enough, and I chose the Milan cookies just because I think they are elegant enough to serve at a party. Because one of my boys doesn’t care for chocolate, I set aside some of the cookies without any chocolate and the boys even enjoyed them plain. We thought the flavors worked well, though next time I might use lemon zest in the cookies for more lemon flavor or switch to orange liqueur and orange zest.
Piping the cookies just right took a bit of practice. My first sheet of cookies looked so tiny. I piped them 1 inch long as the instructions said, but when they baked they were no larger than my thumb, so for the rest I made them wider and longer. I piped slowly, making sure to push some extra batter out for more width and doubled the length. This made the baked cookies closer to the size we all know and love.
Thanks to Nicole at Sweet Tooth for hosting this month, it was a fun and delicious challenge.
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
- #12 piping tip (¼-inch plain tip) + coupler
- plastic bag
- baking sheets lined with parchment
- small saucepan
- medium mixing bowl
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- ⅞ cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon extract
- 1½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, (hopped)
- 1 zest of 1 orange
- Preheat oven to 350° F/175° C.
- In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
- Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
- Add the flour and mix until just well mixed. Don’t over mix.
- Fit the decorating tip onto a corner of the plastic bag, snip the corner, and attach the coupler. Fill the bag with the cookie batter. Pipe 1-inch (2.5 cm) sections (I made mine longer, about 2 inches/5 cm) of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches/5 cm apart as they spread.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan. Continue with the remaining cookie batter.
- While waiting for the cookies to cool, in the small saucepan over medium flame, scald the cream.
- Put the chopped chocolate into the medium mixing bowl and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Whisk to melt chocolate, then add the orange zest and blend well.
- Set aside to cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
- 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. Continue with remaining cookies and filling.
More from the Daring Bakers
You can see all of my previous Daring Challenges in the the Daring Challenges list.