July 27, 2009

Milan Cookies and Mallows - Being a Daring Baker!!

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. Oh yes, this month we had two challenges - two recipes to battle it out with, or choose one of them as we please. I have always loved the Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies and so I had no question in my mind about the recipe that I will definitely try out. After the delectable pictures of the mallow cookies posted on our private DB forum, I was tempted to try those out as well!!

But once again, I was pressed for time to complete my challenge this month! Being sick for almost half the month of July didnt help matters either. So I decided that I will make the Milan cookies and then attempt the mallow cookies with store-bought marshmallows.

My experience :

I started my challenge just this last weekend. The batter for Milan Cookies was pretty straight- forward to prepare and was easy to pipe out. I used only vanilla extract to make the cookie batter and used 4 tbsp of that. I reduced the oven temperature to 325F. At first I piped them out on wax paper, but it started smoking a lot. The cookies were also a bit tough to separate from the wax paper. So I asked JM to get me some parchment paper, which he did quickly. Thanks to him, I had an easy time getting my cookies off the baking tray.

I also attempted to pipe the batter in several different ways using the 1/4" piping tip and found that three lines made the cookies the right size with the perfect oval shape. But I should say that the cookies baked on the wax paper were much crispier than the ones on the parchment paper.

I used Lindt 70% cacoa chocolate to fill the Milan cookies. Since I read from the forum that many DBers had cookies with cake-ish texture the next day, I left the cookies out so that they may remain crisp. But still, the next day, many of them were chewy rather than crisp. Nevertheless, the cookies were delicious and in great demand. Eventhough the dark chocolate ganache was a little too bitter when tasted on its own turned out excellent when coupled with the sweet Milan cookies. I omitted the orange zest in the cookie filling.

My only concern is the consistency in the shape of the cookies which may be helped if a stencil is used. Maybe the next time I will try spreading the batter using a stencil, rather than piping on the baking tray.

Milan Cookies

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

Cookie filling:

• 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.

The second element of our challenge, if we opted to do, was to make Mallows which were Chocolate covered marshmallow cookies. Once again, the cookie recipe was very easy to follow and great to work with. I used a star shaped cookie cutter and a small wine glass mouth to cut out the cookies. I just didnt want to attempt the home-made marshmallows because I just couldnt find the time. So I bought some jet-puffed marshmallows and some marshmallow cream.

I halved the cookie recipe and proceeded to make the cookies. I baked the cookies for about 7 minutes in a 350F oven until golden brown. The cookies were allowed to cool and I placed small mint melts on them. I piped the marshmallow cream so as to cover the mini-kisses shaped mint melts. Immediately I could see that the marshmallow cream was not going to hold its shape. The cream overflowed from the top of the cookies. So I just sprinkled a bit of round sprinkles on them and they looked stunning (but no pictures, though). Most of the star shaped cookies were done in this way, so I have none of them to display.

Then I decided to experiment with the jet-puffed mallows. I cut them in half, placed them on top of the cookies with a chocolate covered raisin on top. Then I put them in microwave for 3 seconds each so that the mallows would stick to the cookies.

I didnt have any more semisweet or dark chocolate at home, so I decided to use the cherry chocolate chips that I had at home. I wanted to make a cherry - white chocolate swirl on top the mallows. But when I mixed the white chocolate with the cherry chips, there were no swirls left. By then, my patience was also running thin, so I just dipped the mallow cookies in the melted cherry chips and left them to dry/harden (which they didnt as much as I would've liked). Some of the dipped mallow cookies were topped with sprinkles as well. Anyways, once they were easier to handle, I melted a bit more of the white chocolate and drizzled on top of the cherry mallows.

Eventhough I am not very happy with how my mallows turned out (I know, I shouldve gone with home-made marshmallows!), they were surprisingly very delicious. I am saying this because I really dont like the marshmallows alone, but the whole thing works well and is just an explosion of flavors and textures in your mouth! I feel a bit guilty saying this, but I think this turned out to be my favorite in taste and texture, though not in execution or ease.

Check out my final picture to see the cherry chocolate glaze, the white marshmallow, the chocolate covered raisin and my mallow cookie which all came together to make this wonderful flavorful piece of heaven!!

Mallows (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)

Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
• 3 eggs, whisked together
• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.

2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.

3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.

4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.

8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.

9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.

10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.

11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.

12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.

13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Homemade marshmallows:

• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• 2 egg whites , room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.

2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.

3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.

4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.

5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.

6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Chocolate glaze:

• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

* You can either do both recipes or just choose one.

Thanks for reading my post. You can check out my previous Daring Bakers Challenges - all 13 of them here. Please do visit the other Daring Bakers to check out their cookies at the Daring Bakers blogroll.

Thanks again and have a great week ahead!!


Lisa Michelle said...

OMG, JZ, your Milanos look just like Pep Farms, but even better! However, I'm in love with your white chocolate-cherry chip coated Mallows! They are not only beautiful, but I want to taste one badly! So creative - fantastic job all around!

Dharm said...

Your Milanos look great! Just like the real Pepperidge Farm ones! I'm so impressed that you did Both cookies... well done!

Mary Teresa said...

The cherry/chocolate combo looks delicious!! Homemade marshmallows or not, I still want to eat one. Or two. Great challenge!

meeso said...

Everybody is tempting me with cookies today... Can you share some, please :)

Lauren said...

Yum! All of your cookies look amazing =D. Awesome job on this challenge - I love the pink mallows and the milanos look great as well!

Aparna said...

Your cookies have come out really well. And red coloured mallows? Those look irresistible.

♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ said...

Hey JZ! It's my very first time here! And I must say I LOVED IT!! :) Beautifully kept space! I am adding you to my blogroll! :)

diana said...

good going
keep it up
God bless