Homemade Milano Cookies

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Day 4 of my week of Christmas cookies and things are starting to get really good.


I would like to petition that instead of putting out sugar cookies and milk for Santa, we put out these homemade Milano cookies and a hot cup of coffee instead. Santa has got to be exhausted with all of the flying around the world and army crawling down chimneys. He’s going to need some replenishment. He’s also probably getting tired of the same old boring cookies. I have a feeling that once you give these cookies a try and dunk them in a really good cup of coffee, you’ll agree.

These cookies are indeed, all that and a bag of chips. Milanos were always a favorite of mine growing up, then I got a bag a few weeks ago and I was kind of disappointed. They didn’t have that same flavor I remember loving so long ago. But this homemade version has restored my love. The cookie by itself tastes almost like a crispy bite of angel food cake: light, airy and sweet. The chocolate is exactly what chocolate ganache should be, rich and decadent – without the waxy after taste. Together, they make the perfect coffee dunking cookie.

The only changes I made to the recipe were to exclude the citrus stuff. I didn’t want my cookie tasting like lemon or my chocolate tasting like orange. So I only used the vanilla extract in the cookie and just left the orange out of the chocolate. I’m glad I did, to me it would have ruined it. But if you’re into the chocolate citrus flavor combo then you can check back with the original recipe and give it a try.


Homemade Milano Cookies

Ingredients Cookies
12 Tbsp butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour

For chocolate ganache filling
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with either a silpat baking sheet or parchment paper*.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter until pale and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, and, starting on low speed, mix in the sugar. With the mixer running on medium speed, gradually add the egg whites and vanilla. Add the flour and mix just until combined. It should look like thick cake batter. Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a 1/4″ round tip, with the dough. Using medium pressure, pipe the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet in 2-inch long sections, 2 inches apart.**

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies just start to turn golden brown. Let cool on the cookie sheet.

To make the chocolate ganache filling, scald the heavy cream (bring to a boil) in a sauce pan. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. While the ganache is cooling, carefully remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and match up your cookies by similar size and shape.

Using a spoon, spread the chocolate over the smooth (bottom) side of one cookie. Carefully place the matching cookie on top of the chocolate and gently press down. Place bake on cookie sheet and allow to set for about 30 minutes (you can also place them in the freezer for 10 minutes).

Serve with a hot cup of coffee. 🙂

Slightly adapted from Gale Gand, Food Network

*I recommend using a silpat.I used silpat for one batch and parchment for another. The parchment I used wasn’t completely smooth so those cookies turned out really wonky. For the third batch I went back to the silpat. However if you don’t have one, parchment paper will work, just make sure it is completely smooth and level on the cookie sheet. **You don’t want the dough to be too skinny, as this will result in thinner cookies, so go kind of slow as you pipe the 2-inch cookies. Think of a thicker tootsie roll.

And feel free to use any reject cookies as dippers for the left over ganache!

Homemade Oreos

 

In the weeks leading up to my China trip, Jesse dropped several hints about bringing along some home-baked goodies. There was no question what his number one choice was, chocolate chip cookies. But other than that he left it pretty open saying he just wanted a few things that I made. Oreos have long been a favorite of his, so when I re-stumbled upon an old bookmark for homemade oreos I knew it was meant to be.

So, 2 days before I left the baking began and the results was just as good as I had hoped it would be. To be perfectly honest, if you took a bite of this cookie and then a bite of a real Oreo, I don’t think you would be fooled into thinking they are the same cookie. The homemade version is softer and chewier than the store bought, but in my book that makes them even better. Besides, I think for a lot of people the filling is really what the Oreo is all about, and this filling is pretty spot on. I filled mine the “double stuffed” way because, let’s face, go big or go home and I haven’t bought a bag of regular Oreos since being introduced to the double stuffed variety.

I tried a few different ways of packing the Oreos but I was afraid to lose any of that delicious filling and God forbid the beautiful cookies get smooshed! Finally, I decided that Oreo had the right idea storing the cookie in a “sleeve”. I had an empty plastic wrap box and once I lined it with Parchment paper it was PERFECT for storing and transporting the cookies. All cookies made it to China in one piece and were thoroughly enjoyed by Jesse (and me!).

 

 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

I love to bake with pumpkin and I am always looking for something new to try. That’s why I was so excited when I stumbled upon this recipe in Peabody’s blog. I’ve made several recipes from her blog before and I have never been disappointed. She is pretty much my baking idol. If you haven’t explored her blog before please, go, you won’t regret it!

This recipe is fantastic. One of my friends even had to go back for more, not because he was hungry, but because he said he couldn’t stop thinking about them. I think that overindulgence of that kind is the highest compliment a baker can get. So needless to say they were a hit. I look forward to making these for Thanksgiving and Christmas.