Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homemade Milanos

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.

I've never actually eaten a Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie, so I can't vouch for how closely these resemble their storebought counterpart. What I do know is they taste wonderful, and are fairly easy to make. The trickiest part for me was figuring out how much dough (it has the consistency of a batter) to pipe out onto the cookie sheet.

The directions only called for piping one inch of batter, but I piped mine a little longer just in case! They came out of the oven looking like this...

While the cookies were cooling it was time to make my chocolate ganache. The recipe called for orange zest to be added to the chocolate and cream. I skimped a little bit in this area because I wanted to make sure I could taste chocolate and not just oranges. It tasted great though, and next time I'll go ahead and add the full amount of zest.

Once my ganache and cookies had cooled I started spreading chocolate and making cookie sandwiches!

I loved the way these cookies turned out and recommend you try them!

Milan Cookies Recipe
courtesy of Gale Gand, 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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Call me crazy, but home canning interests me. I've received books about it as a gift, and one of my friends has agreed to teach me how to can in her kitchen this summer. So when my June recipe challenge for the Daring Bakers had the option of homemade jam, I knew I wanted to try and make my own. This was my first attempt, and I didn't actually can it. I put in in the fridge and am using it quickly! The recipe I used was How to Make Super Easy Strawberry Jam, and they're telling the truth. It's super easy! I started by cutting the strawberries and putting them in a pan...

then I mashed them with a potato masher,
added sugar and lemon juice,
cooked until it reached 220 F,
let it cool off, and then spread it on toast. Delicious!