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.
How nice to have an option to make either or both of these cookies for this month’s challenge. The marshmallow cookies, sadly, were not an option for me, as I don’t have any vegan marshmallows. The Milanos, however, have already been veganized, thanks to Isa.
Isa’s recipe is more suited to my family’s tastes. She uses a bit of orange zest in the cookie batter and a pure chocolate filling. Gale Gand’s recipe has lemon zest in the cookie batter and orange zest in the chocolate. My family has a thing about fruity chocolate. I did use Gand’s method to spread on the chocolate filling rather than Isa’s method of dipping the cookies into the melted chocolate.
I knew the hardest part of the recipe would be making good looking cookies. I've steered clear of baking sandwich cookies because it's difficult (for me, anyway) to hand shape evenly sized cookies. I didn’t flour my hands to pat out the dough as per Isa’s method. I found the oily batter to be quite easy to work with as is. As usual, my only issue is the time it takes to shape 32 cookies. My attention span is about 10 minutes and these required much longer than that, probably about 30 minutes. I was reasonably happy with my shaping.
I baked the cookies for 14 minutes. After they cooled I melted the chocolate. I was doing other things in the kitchen, and my chocolate seized up. I saved it by adding 1 tablespoon of Smart Balance and 1 tablespoon of corn syrup, then I reheated it and got it back to a nice smooth consistency. I spread it on and made the little sandwiches. Voila!
Now I haven’t had a store bought milano in years, but I’m sure mine are too thick. I have to call them My Big Fat Milanos.
Since these are not gluten free cookies, I had only a taste of about half a cookie. Aside from being too fat, the cookies are wonderful. I am a huge chocoholic, but I would enjoy eating just these cookies without the chocolaty center. They are really crispy, and I enjoyed that for a change. Plus it's perfect with the creamy chocolate center. I know this recipe made the blog rounds about a year ago, so if you didn’t make them then, you should now. They are actually quite easy to bake and super delicious to eat!