Sunday, July 26, 2009

First ever Daring Bakers Challenge!

I have been waiting to join the Daring Bakers group for a few months and am so excited to have finally gotten to participate in a challenge! For those of you who don't know, the Daring Kitchen is an online community for cooks and bakers all over the world who come together and make the same recipe each month. then on the same day, each blogging member posts their challenge results along with the recipe. It is a super fun community designed to challenge us in the kitchen to make things that we would not normally do. Everyone has such wonderful tips and ideas and alterations to the recipes, it can be a little intimidating, but is super fun!

I really wanted to make both recipes this month and was all prepared to make the mallows today (sunday), but time and a dirty house decided otherwise, so i have only completed the Milanos. I've included both recipes though, and you can check out the blogroll to see the other Daring Bakers' results.

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.

The Milanos were not super hard to make. The most difficult part was getting consistent shapes for the piped cookies. I attempted to make one sheet pan in a circular shape rather than the traditional oval, and they spread like crazy! I ended up having to cut them and try to match the sizes up to fill them. I also did not get mine crisp enough--it is very important to let them brown on the edges! i think an additional 5 minutes added to the bake time would have been perfect.

A lot of the bakers experimented with flavors, both in the cookie and chocolates. Some added other fruits like rasperry extrac or coconut rather than lemon, or just vanilla. I would like to make these again with more variations, b/c the citrus is a bit too strong for me.

I regret not taking more pictures of the process--i intended to do that with the mallows, but since they didn't get done...oh well. My coworkers seemed to enjoy the ones i took to work, and my sister ate up the remaining cookies at my house, so i think they were a success!

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

• 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.

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies
Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
• 3 eggs, whisked together
• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Homemade marshmallows:
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• 2 egg whites , room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Chocolate glaze:
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.


  1. Yum - Your milanos look amazing! Congrats on your first challenge =D.

  2. I absolutely love Milano cookies! You inspire me Sarah, although I come home too tired to bake and you come home WITH illness and still bake! Your mama and daddy think we should go into business together. I have an idea that I can tell you about sometime. My blog is not nearly as colorful, and I'm just starting...

  3. I just joined DB too, but I was so incredibly busy this month with orders and life I didn't make either!!! Yours look great and congrats on your first DB challenge!

  4. Congrats and welcome! Great job on the milanos!

  5. props on your dessert photos. They are very Martha Stewartesque with all the natural light. :)

  6. Your cookies look delicious!
    Congratulations on your first DB challenge!