Daring Bakers: Milan Cookies

Last week was a fun filled week consisting of a trip to the coast, shopping, catching up with my three best friends from my childhood (two of them stayed with me and we had so much fun staying up late), and two days of our 20th high school reunion events. Oh, and did I mention also filling dessert orders, including making desserts for the reunion? It was a busy week and before I knew it, the 27th arrived and well, here we are--the reveal day for this month's challenge.

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 had the option to make one or both of the recipes, and due to the lack of extra time I had this month, I choose to make the Milan Cookies, which seemed to be the quickest one. Also, I've made marshmallows before and I wanted to try something I haven't made before. These cookies were so quick and easy that if you ever have a last minute event to attend and need to bring something delicious, this is the recipe for you! (I know this from actual experience, since I just made these cookies an hour ago and it took less than 45 minutes from start to finish).

If you love Mallows (marshmallow chocolate covered cookies) I've included the link for that recipe as well.

*I've added notes or helpful hints in orange.

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

Cookie Batter
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)

Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped *I used bittersweet chocolate which is a darker than a semisweet chocolate.
1 orange, zested *I used an orange oil, in place of orange zest.

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. *I used Silpats, which worked great.
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.

*I piped different sizes and shapes (oblong, oval, medium rounds, small rounds, etc.--all shapes tasted delicious!)