Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Bakers - Milan Cookies and Mallows

This month's Daring Bakers Challenge really did end up being a tale of two cookies for me, with vastly different outcomes, and tested my determination in the face of adversity.

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 could choose to make just one or other of the cookies if we didn't want to do both, and I almost skipped the Milan cookies. However, I changed my mind on the day before posting day and decided to make them as well (I had made the mallows a couple of weeks earlier).

Hmmm ... I began to think that I was wise not to have made the Milan cookies, as my first batch looked lumpy and ugly:

My first thoughts were to abandon the Milan cookies, throw them out and pretend I never attempted them. However, on reconsideration, I thought that it did not show much Daring Baker spirit to opt out like that, so I had another go.

Luckily, I had only made a half batch the first time around, so I could make the other half without feeling so bad about wasting ingredients. For my second effort on the Milan cookies, featured at the top of this post, I changed a number of things - first, I measured all of my ingredients by weight instead of using volume. Second, I used three egg whites instead of the 4 that I accidentally used the first time. Third, I substituted orange essence (I had no lemon essence) for the lemon juice I used the first time. Fourth, I beat in the egg whites for longer. And finally, borrowing for
Audax's idea of shaping the cookies in mini tart pans, I spooned tablespoons of mixture into muffin pans lined with muffin papers.

I still can't say that I was excited by the result - I ended up with what looked and tasted like mini cakes filled with ganache, and it really wasn't my thing. I don't think I would have changed my mind even if I had repiped these cookies and allowed them to spread more thinly, because I tasted the fugly batch and the taste was similarly cakey. I like a crunchy cookie rather than a cakey cookie. I know that a lot of other Daring Bakers loved these and preferred them over the mallows, but as for me, I will pass on these in the future.

The mallows on the other hand were another story:

I adored these, and they turned out well for me. I love the commercial version of these cookies, and if possible, these mallows tasted even better, although messy and time consuming to make.

Like most of the Daring Bakers, I ended up with way more cookies than marshmallow and chocolate coating (54 to be exact, despite mine being larger in diameter than the recipe recommended):

Here are my mallows just after being topped with marshmallow. I had no difficulty with the marshmallow not setting - in fact, I had the reverse issue in that the last of my marshmallow started to set before I could pipe it, so I had to spoon it roughly onto the cookies:

I didn't use vegetable oil or cocoa butter or shortening in my chocolate coating - I just used melted chocolate spooned over the top, and it worked like a dream. My coating set and stayed set, so I could store them outside the fridge.

With the leftover cookies, I sandwiched them together with cherry jam and iced them:

Here is a peek inside one of the mallows:

Some of the Daring Bakers came up with truly amazing variations on the original recipe, so for some fun, check out their efforts at the
Daring Bakers blogroll. Thanks to Nicole for being our host this month. She will have the recipes on her site if you are interested.


Tammy said...

I loved the mallows as well. I didnt try the Milan cookies - just as well as I like crisp rather than cakey cookies. Do you get mallowpuffs in Australia, as the mallows were like home made mallowpuffs

Cakelaw said...

Hi Tammy, we do - Arnotts also make ones called Royals with raspberry jam at the base - love 'em all. At school, we used to pick the chocolate off first, then eat the marshmallow and finnaly the biscuit. We ended up with sticky fingers, but those were the days!

Gloria said...

I love all cakelaw but specially love the mallows, I love everything with marshmallow and the kids too! Look so nice, Gloria

Aparna said...

I liked those iced cookies of yours; they're cute. :)

I agree, I was a bit disappointed with the Milanos but the "Not Mallows" (in my case) more than made up for it.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What pretty cookies! Very well done!



♥Deeba @Passionate About Baking♥ said...

We can be blogsisters my dear. Too many cookies, too little marshmallow...& even 'littler' chocolate coating. I had over 7 dozen cookies...phew. But the mallows were worth all the trouble. Beautiful cookies..sorry about the Milanos. I didn't try those.

Lisa Michelle said...

Your Mallows AND Milans came out wonderful! I'm sorry you didn't care for the Milanos, but they do sound yummy in that form. Personally, too much lemon extract in the cookie batter in my opinion. Also, love sprinkles on the Mallows since the recipe was way off! Great job all around!

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and the cookies look really delicious.

Dharm said...

Anyone who attempted BOTH biscuits is a winner in my book. They look just great!

Mary said...

I liked the Milan cookies, but I made them really small so they were crunchy. I didn't like the big cakey ones either. Your mallows look great!

Audax said...

Your mallows are wonderous and I think you made the milanos too thick. When I made them with Emily we only put in 1tsp and when they spread they didn't make the edges so the resulting cookie was very very thin and super crisp. Maybe it's the thickness that is giving you a bad result.

Well onto your pix I just love the iced cookies and those 100s and 1000s are a delight. And the mallows look superb. Bravo on a great job and thanks for the nice comments you left on my blog. Cheers from Audax in Australia

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm going to have to try the mallows. Everyone is raving about them. Your's look great! Too bad about the Milans.

Lauren said...

Yum!! Your cookies look awesome =D. I'm glad the marshmallow cookies worked so well for you!

The Blonde Duck said...

They're so cute with the sprinkles!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

These look great Cakelaw and I love the sprinkles on top! :D

isa said...

Your mallows looks absolutely delicious!
Sorry about the Milan.
But they do look ute with the spinkles on top!

Ivy said...

You did a great job with both recipes. I'd love some of those marshmallows.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Gloria - they were fun to make.

Hi Aaprna, I am with you - the mallows were superb.

Thanks Rosa.

LOL Deeba - agreed, there were so many extra cookies!

Thanks Lisa Michelle :)

Hi Jo, thanks.

Thanks Dharm - makes me feel much better.

Thanks Mary.

Hi Audax, thanks. Deliberately make the Milans the way I did on the second round, as I didn't want horrible holey things for my ganache.

Thanks Wendy - the mallows are superb, you have to try them.

Thanks Lauren.

Thanks Duckie - the sprinkles were the "OMG I have too many cookies what will I do" version.

Thanks Lorraine.

Thanks Isabelle :)

Hi Ivy, good choice - they are delish!

TeaLady said...

I wish I had tried the mallow cookies. I loved them as a child. But...

I didn't care for the milan much. I had trouble with them getting soft really quick.

Your mallows look great.

Little Miss Cupcake said...

Love how you salvaged the Milanos. It does sound like several DBs had problems with them. Your Mallows look fantastic - great height of the marshmallow. I bet they tasted kick ass!

Hilary said...

A lot of people seemed to have problems or were underwhelmed by the milanos. I'm glad I didn't try them! The mallows were yummy though, weren't they?

Engineer Baker said...

Just perfect! Sounds like your reaction was the same as a lot of people - mallows were a big thumbs up, milanos a big thumbs down.

Ruth Horn said...

Your mallows look delicious

Cakelaw said...

TeaLady, you must try the mallows - they are superb!!

Thanks Little Miss Cupcake - they were kick ass!!

Hilary, so agreed - they were worth my kitchen becoming a chocolate coated fantasy for.

LOL Caitlin - at least I feel like I am not alone.

Thanks Ruth :)

Y said...

I noticed quite a few people didn't seem to like the milan cookies, but the mallows were a definite success! Love the way you decorated yours!