Sunday, December 27, 2015

Homemade Milano Cookies

Growing up I had a pretty endless supply of snack food. There was a chip cupboard way up high that kept a steady supply of Cool Ranch Doritos and sour cream & onion Ruffles. There was the deep freezer stacked with Napolitan ice cream, chocolate ripple and the occasional Tiger Tail. Packaged cookies weren't my go-to, but I was a sucker for Fugee-O's, and Milano cookies were a total splurge. They were probably the only cookie bold enough to feature dark chocolate in a land of milk, and the only cookies to come in a matte paper packet.

Still I can't resist these cookies.

A classy combination of chocolate and vanilla...

They're light in texture and on the palate. You can look forward to crisp when warm and fresh, and then they will come soft and tender as they keep.

This is also a great way to use extra egg whites after you've made lemon curd or an Italian Crostata.

It starts like a normal cookie dough with creaming soft butter and sugar. Mix in the egg whites and then sifted dry ingredients to make a moist and slightly sticky batter.

To shape these the traditional way you need to pull out a piping bag or even a heavy duty freezer bag with the corner cut off will do.

Pipe logs down a parchment lined baking tray. The moist dough will form little peaks as you lift up your piping bag and that's no look for a professional. So dampen your finger with water and tap down those pointy tips to form a smooth surface.

Bake until just lightly golden around the edges. Once cooled spread dark chocolate between two cookies. Don't be light here - the best bittersweet 70% chocolate is what you will need.

They are best fresh so bring some to your neighbours and share the tenderness.


Homemade Milano Cookies
Makes about 48 halves or 24 sandwich cookies

1 cup (142g) all-purpose flour (next increase slightly to 160g)
1/4 cup (30g) cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (120g) icing sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1/4 cup (60ml) milk

85g/3oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Place the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in half of the egg whites slowly, followed by a few spoonfuls of flour mixture. Beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in remaining egg whites and then fold in remaining flour until just combined. Fold in the milk. The mixture will look like thick cake batter. 

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Put the cookie dough into a piping bag fitted with a wide plain tip. Pipe 1/2-inch by 2-inch ovals onto the parchment, giving yourself at least an inch between each oval as the cookies will spread and rise in the oven. Bake 10-12 minutes or until browned around the edges and lightly golden at the surface. Transfer baking tray to a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, gently melt chocolate and spread between two cookies. Let set and enjoy like a kid again!
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