baking Daring Bakers recipes

Daring Bakers: Copycat Cookies, Sort Of

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.

We were unexpectedly invited to a July 4th barbecue at the house of some friends, and I thought, “Hey, what a great opportunity to make this month’s Daring Bakers recipes! I’ll be able to write the post early!! I won’t have to stay up late the night before typing my little heart out!!!”

Well, it was a good opportunity to make the recipes. And as you can see, I didn’t stay up late the night before the reveal date. Oops.

Anyway, I made the cookies.

The Mallomars (um, Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Cookies) were extremely yummy, although the chocolate never did set up until I refrigerated them, and I had to keep them in the refrigerator or they softened up again. I used the vegetable oil option; it seems to me, in retrospect, that cocoa butter, which is solid at room temperature, would have been the way to go. Or maybe shortening.

But if you didn’t mind getting your fingers a bit messy — and I didn’t — they were great. I didn’t roll the cookie dough quite thin enough, because I hate rolling cookie dough, and I’m not very good at it. I used Dorie Greenspan’s trick of rolling the dough inside a plastic bag, which helps immensely, but I put too much dough inside the bag, leading to slightly too-thick cookies. But still yummy.

mallomars 1

And the marshmallows sure do harden fast, don’t they? My first 20 or so were beautiful little piped Hershey’s Kiss-like things, lovely to behold.

mallomars 2

By the last 20 or so, I was desperately trying to spread the mess with a knife.

mallomars 3

I thought the chocolate would hide the mess, or at least camouflage it. I don’t know why I thought that.

mallomars 5

But at least some of them came out pretty, and they were all delicious (as I believe I’ve mentioned).

mallomars 4

Needless to say, I liked the milk chocolate versions better. My family disagreed (more milk chocolate for me!):

Husband: Delicious little moon pie bites.
#1 Son: Honestly, I was not that impressed. None of the components was particularly flavorful, and I found the cookie very dry. [To clarify, he was eating them the next day, after they spent the night in the refrigerator.]
#2 Son: They could have used a thicker coating of chocolate, maybe double-dipped, and the shortbread could have had more flavor. The marshmallow was good, though. I would eat them again.

And then there were the Milanos (um, Milan Cookies). The recipe called for flavoring the chocolate with orange, but no. I always liked the Mint Milanos best, so that was my goal.

I added a quarter-teaspoon of peppermint extract to the chocolate, which was dark. Milk chocolate didn’t seem right with mint, but I should have trusted my preferences.

My first batch of cookies were tiny — they barely spread at all. I used much more batter in subsequent batches and got a better cookie; the recipe was very unclear on this point. You have to make the cookie about 75 percent the size you want it to wind up, and thick.

milanos 1

They never got crisp, though. I don’t know if it was too humid here — summer in New Jersey? humid? — or if it was the recipe, but they were always kind of spongy, even after I let them sit out for a couple of hours. The chocolate filling was excellent, though, except I would (of course!) have liked it better had I gone with the milk chocolate. They were pretty, though.

milanos 2

Overall, I preferred the marshmallow cookies, but the family liked the milanos:

Husband: I would have liked a somewhat thicker cookie, but they were pleasant enough after they were refrigerated.
#1 Son: Really good. I had them after they were in the fridge for a while. They had gotten to a really good level of chewiness. The filling could have been a little mintier, but it worked well overall. Orange would have been better. [Smartass.]
#2 Son: I think there could have been a little more mint in the chocolate, and the cookies could have been snappier, by which I mean actually snappy instead of all bendy. Other than that, thumbs up.

milanos 3

Try them yourselves — experimentation is fun! I think I’d like to try the marshmallow cookies with flavored marshmallows next time.

Mallows (Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies
Not my photo, and certainly not my cookies.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

• 3 cups (375 grams/13.23 oz.) all purpose flour
• ½ cup (112.5 grams/3.97 oz.) white sugar
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¾ teaspoon baking powder
• ⅜ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170 grams/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 plastic wrap 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 ⅛-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1-to-1½-inch 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:
• ¼ cup water
• ¼ cup light corn syrup
• ¾ cup (168.76 grams/5.95 oz.) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• 2 egg whites, room temperature
• ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook 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.


Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Milan Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

• 12 tablespoons (170 grams/6 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
• 2½ cups (312.5 grams/11.02 oz.) powdered sugar
• ⅞ cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1½ cups (187.5 grams/6.61 oz) all-purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• ½ cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested [or peppermint extract to taste, or whatever you’d like to try!]

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 (¼-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.

One reply on “Daring Bakers: Copycat Cookies, Sort Of”

When I made the Milan cookies the other day, I had the same problem as you. For starters, they came out tiny and didn’t spread nearly as much as I thought they would. And they stayed soft, kind of chewy even though the edges were crisp brown. Still yummy but I thought they would be overpowered by the filling. Your post makes me wish I had made the mint chocolate filly anyway!

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