This past month has been super busy with the July 4th weekend, traveling to California for my cousin's wedding, being sick and just generally trying to enjoy the summer weather. SO, I chose to only complete one of the cookies for the challenge (legal per the rules!) at this time. I'm still going to attempt the other cookie, just not in time to post about it for the challenge. :-)
So..which cookie did I choose?! The Milan Cookies by Gale Gand! They looked a bit easier and I love Gale Gand. Gale was one of the first bakers I remember seeing on TV (The Food Network) and thinking..."wow, I'd love to have HER job!" :::SIGH:::
The recipe for the cookie is fairly straight forward. The butter, sugar, egg whites and extracts come together easily (my butter was super soft due to the summer heat!). I was a touch concerned about the amount of egg whites. My carton said that one cup was 4 eggs, but the recipe said that 7/8 cup was about 6 eggs. I used the 7/8 cup, hoping that it was the more accurate measure since egg size can vary.
Once you add the flour, the cookie mixture resembles a thick cake batter type texture (in my opinion). I was a bit worried that the batter was too runny, but it seemed to be fine in the end.
Piping the cookies turned out to be the most difficult part of this entire challenge. The directions say to use a 1/4 inch plain tip and pipe 1-inch sections. I'm not sure I used the right tip, but my first batch of cookies turned into little burnt bricks, so I had to modify my piping technique. I figured that I needed them to be thicker and a bit bigger. The picture below is what finally seemed to work for me.
Again, the hardest part was the piping...and trying to get them all about the same size. You can see that I did ok, but some were bigger than others. I figured as long as they had a "mate" I'd be ok in the long run.
While the cookies were cooling (on the pan...too difficult to move right away!), I moved on to the chocolate filling. I chopped the chocolate and zested the orange before I started to scald the cream, knowing it would go quickly.
I was right, once the cream was hot and poured over the chocolate, the zest was added and "voila!" chocolate filling was ready!
Putting the cookies together was easy, if not a bit messy. Again, the hardest part was finding the appropriate "mate" for each set. It made for quick work though.
The end result was a fairly elegant looking cookie that tastes really great! The lemon extract and the orange zest give this cookie a sophistication that lacks in some other cookies. They are truly yummy and present well. I got a two thumbs up and a "this is like crack" from the first taste-tester. :-)
Editted After Original Post: Ok, after eating a few of these and getting a bit more input (love the people at work!), I think that I added a bit too much orange zest into the filling. It's nice, they still taste good, but it's a bit overpowering for my liking (and a few others that were polled). SO, go easy on it....but enjoy it if you like that burst of citrus. OK....on to the glamour shot!
The Recipe: Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1 hr
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
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. Store in an airtight container.
Enjoy with Love,