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.
This month we were given the option of trying one or both of the recipes. Of course I had to tackle both. I made the Milanos first, even though the “Mallomars” are the ones I really was itching to try. I had a girls’ weekend planned later in the month, so I saved that one for a couple weeks so I could take them with me.
The Milanos recipe seemed simple enough; not many ingredients, an easy ganache filling. But the trick was piping the batter (using a pastry bag) into perfect oval shapes. I wanted them to look as close to the Peppridge Farm version as possible.
I tested a small batch first. Meh.
So I decided to trace circles with a cookie cutter, then fill in the circle (on the opposite side of the parchment paper) with the batter.
Not perfect, but better. At least somewhat uniform.
They assembled pretty easily and tasted good, though I haven’t had the originals in a while, and I don’t remember so much citrus – lemon flavor in the cookie, orange flavor in the chocolate. The one thing that wasn’t the same as the Pepperidge farm version was their texture. The cookies were more cakelike, not so crisp. I don’t know that I’ll make them again, but if I do, I’ll use a very small amount of batter for each cookie to hopefully result in a cookie with more crunch. I ended up giving most of these to the neighbors, and sent a few to a friend for her birthday.
Now for the marshmallow cookies. These were a lot of fun to make and assemble. First, a simple cookie dough.
Sort of a sugar cookie with a tiny bit of cinnamon. Their flavor was very reminiscent of my favorite Jammer scones from Portland’s Grand Central Bakery.
I made the cookies a few days ahead of time and stored them in the freezer. I was curious to try my hand at homemade marshmallows. Easy-peasy, just sort of messy. I’d make them again, only I might spread them into a cookie sheet to cool, then cut them out to the size I need. Homemade s’mores, anyone?
I was nervous about dipping the marshmallow-topped cookies into the chocolate. I really didn’t expect the marshmallow to stick as well as it did. I melted the chocolate in a cone-shaped double boiler, then used ice tongs to pick up the cookies and dunk them face first into the chocolate. Perfect!
We’ve been having some warm weather here, so it seemed to take forever for the chocolate to set. I ended up putting them in the refrigerator, then got some pastry boxes from the grocery store to package them up. I gave some to the neighbors, and took the rest to my girls’ weekend. (We met in Tacoma and spent a lovely Saturday touring the Museum of Glass, drinking cocktails, and enjoyed a fabulous dinner.) We didn’t even eat them all, so I sent the rest home to my friend Ryan, who hosted my first baking challenge.
These will definitely be repeated.