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.
As this was my first daring bakers challenge, I decided that maybe some restraint was in order. So since making only one of the cookies was an option, I made my husband decide which he wanted. He chose.....the Milans! I would have rather had the marshmallow ones, but since I'm the baker in the house I can make them whenever I have the urge. I've never been part of a baking/cooking challenge of any sort and at 22 thought that this was the right time to get involved! I apologize for my crummy pictures sense photography is far from my forte, but hey, nobody's perfect.
**Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand from the Food Network website**
350* oven for 10 minutes
--12 Tbsp unsalted, softened butter
--2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
--7/8 cup egg whites (about six eggs) **I bought egg whites in a carton and actually measured out 7/8 cup**
--2 Tbsp vanilla extract
--2 Tbsp lemon extract
--1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
--1/2 cup heavy cream
--8 oz semisweet chocolate chopped **I used semisweet chocolate chips**
--1 orange zested
Cream together butter and sugar with a paddle attachment. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts **While 4 Tbsp of extract seemed like a lot, I followed the recipe, and they tasted fine, not overly lemony** Add the flour and mix until just well mixed. With a small (1/4 inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment paper lined sheet pan, spacing 2 inches apart as they spread. **I don't have pastry bags here, I think I mistakenly left them in the states when we moved to Germany, so I followed the advice of another baker and used a spoon to make "appropriately" sized cookies. I failed miserably, and think it would have worked much better if I'd followed directions.** Bake in a 350* oven for 10 minutes or until they're light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan. While waiting for cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium heat, scald cream. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl. Whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well. Set aside to cool. (The mixture will thicken as it cools.) Spread a thin line of the filling onto the flat side of the cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.
These were my cookies on their way into the oven. I thought they were plenty far apart, I was wrong. They didn't form one giant cookie, but they tried hard. None of them kept their pretty shape. All the edges were bumpy and not so smooth. Meh, life goes on, who really likes pretty cookies anyway? The large ones were the cookies that made it off the pan without running into each other. The little ones on the bottom are about an inch long egg shaped cookie cutter that I used to make the cookies that had not survived the oven in good shape. See? Here is the excess cookie that I cut off to make my pretty little oval Milans. "Full size" milan and some little baby ones so you can compare. Not so impressive pictures, but overall they tasted good. The filling was delicious and I saved the extra to make the husband a special treat with my cookie discards. The cookies were slightly shiny and somewhat sticky. Maybe I used a little too much powdered sugar? Possible. Great first challenge and I'm super excited to take on the next one.