Alright, so I’m using the actual brand names of these cookies, when the copycat recipe of these are called Milan and Mallows. Then again, I could have used some supermarket brand rip-off names… like Stop & Shop Chocolate covered Mallow cookies, or Shop-Rite Chocolate filled Vanilla Sandwich cookies (I’m just improvising the latter two), but really, who cares? We could call them Atomic Ass Expanders and Big Butt Biscuits, and it wouldn’t make a difference.
Well, due to copyright infringements, Chicago pastry chef and co-owner of Tru, not to mention former Food Network maven, Gale Gand, has dubbed them Milan and Mallow (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies) cookies, in her attempt to recreate them.
‘Fingerprint’ explained toward the end of this entry.
As usual, before I go on..OK, forget it, I’m not going to make any snarky remarks about the DB-BOT since I’d say it’s gotten a bit old. OK, here it is, minus the sarcasm…maybe we could even be frien..wait, it’s a freakin’ computer program!! I think I need to lay off the pain meds completely at this point!
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. Thanks, Nicole!
Gooey marshmallow, ready to pipe. I like marshmallow in this form too, minus the gelatin so it doesn’t set, especially over ice cream or as a frosting for cakes/cupcakes.
For both cookies, we were given free reign when it came to flavors, fillings and chocolate (which is usually the case), so I suppose you could say I went a little (COUGH – extremely) crazy with both the Milano AND the Mallow, as you can see in the overabundance of photos. Every photo of each cookie is clearly identified, so no need to type out every single direction I took with each and every cookie flavor, addition etc… twice!
Having said all that, I’ve always liked Gale Gand… a lot. I own some her cookbooks, and most of the recipes are great and extremely creative. However, I’ve run into some where the ingredient amounts or just something is off. In this case, it’s the Mallomars, errr, Mallow cookies. The recipe states that the yield is two dozen cookies. Poppycock! (first time I ever used that word, I swear!).
The dough for the cookie base gives you about 8 dozen cookies and the amount of homemade marshmallow is enough to top about 4 dozen cookies, and the chocolate coating is enough for two dozen. WTF? I ended up just using half the dough, rolled 1/8 -inch thin and cut with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter, which is exactly how the recipe reads – and I got 50 cookies!
I froze the other half of the dough since what was I going to do with 100 cookies, 50 of which contain no marshmallow, and 25 no marshmallow OR chocolate? NO, I’m not making extra marshmallow and melting more chocolate. Heck, I don’t even like marshmallows unless they’re toasted golden brown and gooey inside, atop a piece of chocolate on a graham cracker, OR, again, toasted golden brown on top of candied sweet potatoes, OR, at the end of a long stick around a campfire while telling ghost stories about the giant untoasted marshmallow that exploded in some guy’s stomach and killed him.
I guess you’ve already figured out that I only like toasted marshmallows. A big EW to Marshmallow Peeps, although they are fun to nuke in the microwave (someone showed me this in college and those cute, little, sugar-coated chickies morph into giant marshmallow chickens before you can say ‘Stay-Puff’).
Top row: Left to right – Plain, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Blackberry Swirl. Bottom Row: Left to right – Ancho Chocolate Swirl, Roasted Banana Caramel, Nutella. All of the above flavors were dipped in either dark, milk or white chocolate.
There were some DB’ers who said they got exactly two dozen cookies, and the amounts were correct. I don’t doubt them for one second, although I do wonder how small their ‘kisses’ of marshmallow were. To be fair, I added fillings to some of the Mallows, which required more of a long, deep kiss of marshmallow instead of a peck, so that could explain the lack of marshmallow past 50 cookies. At times, I can be pretty heavy handed with a pastry bag, so even the plain ones got a nice, big, globby swirl. No perfect, little ‘mushroom cap’ rounds (LIKE the ones you buy at the market) on my Mallows.
Obviously, the main component of these are marshmallow, and if you’re a huge fan of marshmallow, you cannot bite into a slender, little strip or petite round of marshmallow between the cookie and the chocolate, and be completely satisfied, can you? (Yes, I am making excuses for my over piping ;D)
All in all, the Mallows were fun to make, and those who took them off my hands loved them, especially the ones with the fillings, various chocolate coatings, and swirled flavors, as you can see in the Mallow collage. Yep, the Mallows get mostly collages, while the Milanos get top photo billing. Why, you ask? Maybe because I LOVE Milano cookies.
Milanos..well, in this case, Milans, as Gale calls them, and I have had a romance for years. I can scarf a whole bag of them pretty rapidly (although I do have to take sporadic rests). As far as Gale’s recipe for them goes, I would say they were ummm, sorta’ close. I don’t think they needed all that lemon extract. I understand the recipe for her Milans contain orange zest in the chocolate filling, but I prefer the basic dark (one of the few cases where I tolerate dark chocolate) or milk chocolate filled Milanos, and the vanilla cookies definitely do not taste that lemony or even lemony at all.
I know the lemon extract is in the cookie to cut some of the richness and add some zing, but I still think it’s too much and it tasted different than the Milano’s I’m used to. So, I decreased the lemon greatly, adding just enough to cut the richness, and they finally tasted like the Milanos I know and love. However, I did use some orange zest in the chocolate ganache filling in one of my takes on this recipe, along with cardamom, sandwiched between ground pistachio Milano cookies, but still went light on the lemon.
Pistachio Milanos with Orange Chocolate filling.
I chose not to post any prep photos of of the Milano’s since they were all just boring lines of black sesame, dark chocolate, vanilla, marble, and **pistachio batter, each on its own baking sheet. Oh, and the melted chocolate, which I’m sure you’ve all seen ohhh, maybe a few times before (besides, I covered all that with the Mallows).
Nothing new or scintillating there.
Regarding those boring lines of batters, I used the recommended 1/4-inch pastry tip for my first sheet of plain Milanos, and ended up with a thin, crisp ‘tuile like’ cookie, which most seemed to strive for in this challenge. However, if you look at and bite into an authentic Milano, it’s got a little more heft to it, especially in the middle, so I used a 1/2-inch pastry tip for the second sheet, and ended up with what I thought was closer to a Milano in looks and texture.
By the third sheet of plain batter, no one could tell the difference between mine and a real Milano (obviously, those are the ones I chose to photograph), though not as light in color as a true Milano, (they just look lighter than they actually are in the first photo because they’re on a black plate) BUT, only some of the cookies – since I had quite a few that looked like silhouettes of Elvis and uhhh…part of the male anatomy below the waist. Thin and a little thicker were equally good though, so that was just a matter of ‘more cookie or less cookie?’
***Double Dark Chocolate Milanos with Chocolate-Coconut truffle filling dipped in melted chocolate and toasted coconut. I was able to make good use of the leftover meat from that headstrong coconut in the last Daring Cooks challenge – a lot of use!
On a sucky note, the humidity monster decided to drop by and terrorize me the past two weeks or so, on and off, but mostly on. Naturally, this affected the texture of the Milano cookie greatly. Instead of crispy, I had flaccid, limp cookies. Every time I would pick one up to spread the chocolate on it, it would keel over, and in slo-mo no less! It was actually quite fascinating to watch, and I felt Vivaldi’s Lute Concerto in D Major Largo would have been the perfect musical accompaniment to it .
That said, I kept them in a turned off oven in hopes that they would dry out a bit, then miraculously, the next day was beautiful and dry, so I was finally able to work with them. After that, I just kept them in a sealed container in the fridge, and they remained crispy. Stupid humidity.
I thought I should give at least one Mallomar/Mallow some room on the marquee. Most loved the spicy ancho bite swirled into the marshmallow. Even I liked it – although second to nuking the peanut butter and jelly Mallomar..seriously.
Finally, a word of advice regarding the chocolate coating for the Mallow cookies. If you use dark chocolate, use the cocoa butter or vegetable oil, it sets up perfectly. HOWEVER, if you use milk or white chocolate, do NOT use either. The reasoning behind the white chocolate is simple, it pretty much IS vanilla flavored cocoa butter, so it’ll never set up properly out of the fridge, and even if you do refrigerate them – the coating softens within minutes of being taken out of the fridge. I forgot about this, and had many a fingerprint on each one when I tried to plate them for photos, as you see in the second photo from the top.
The reasoning behind why the same problem occurred with the milk chocolate is also simple – I don’t know – but it just doesn’t set up fully. SO, in conclusion and to reiterate, melt those two chocolates dry, over a double boiler prior to dipping the cookies..no cocoa butter or vegetable oil needed, or maybe half the amount of cocoa butter or vegetable oil for the milk chocolate. You may not get as thin a coating as you would with the dark chocolate, but with a little care, you’ll come close. As Renato pointed out in my comment section, you could also temper each of those chocolates for a better result.
Miniature Milanos! Milk Chocolate Coconut and Milk Chocolate and Vanilla Marble with various chocolate fillings. I only had Halloween mini-muffin cup liners, but hey, they’re colorful!
OH, a little factoid. Did you know they don’t sell Mallomars during the summer? I just found that out a few days ago. Can’t they pack them in coolers when they ship them off to AIR CONDITIONED supermarkets? Then again, I wonder if it’s just area related? Can’t find them in the NY area, according to my source.
Mallows (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies (2 dozen? Try 8 dozen!)
• 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 F degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly – it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.
• 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.
• 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.
Adapted from Gale Gand, via the 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
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest or lemon extract (optional – but I do not recommend it)
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
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 extract and lemon zest or extract, if using.
3. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
4. With a small (1/4-inch (I used a 1/2-inch plain tip) plain tip, pipe 2-inch long strips of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart since they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 F 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.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. When cool, 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.
Black Sesame Milanos with White Chocolate-Matcha Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz good quality white chocolate
2 teaspoons Matcha powder*
1. To start, using the above Milan cookie batter, omit lemon extract, and use vanilla extract instead, or a combo of vanilla extract and almond extract. Stir about 1/2 to 1 cup of black sesame seeds into the batter, then proceed as directed above.
2. Scald heavy cream, then pour over chopped white chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for a minute or two, then stir until uniform and smooth. Stir in two teaspoons of matcha powder, and set aside until until thickened and spreadable.
*Matcha powder is green tea powder, and can be found in most specialty markets, Asian markets, tea shops, and some supermarkets. You can also order it online.
**If you want to add ground pistachios to the Milano batter for my Pistachio Milanos with Chocolate Orange filling; grind them as finely as you can, almost to a powder, and omit some of the flour in the recipe, depending on how much pistachio you add. I didn’t subtract any flour, and my cookies didn’t spread as much as they should have. OR, you can just forgo adding them to the batter, and sprinkle some finely chopped or ground pistachios on top of the plain batter after it’s piped. (I prefer a nice, pistachio flavor throughout the cookie, which is why I used the first method, but either way is great). For the filling, just add about a teaspoon of orange zest and if desired, a pinch of cardamom, to the cookie filling recipe above.
*** For the Double Dark Chocolate cookies, I omitted two tablespoons of the flour and substituted it with two tablespoons of dark unsweetened cocoa powder. I also added two tablespoons melted semisweet chocolate to the batter. For the filling, use coconut milk instead of heavy cream, plus a little pure coconut extract, in the cookie filling recipe above.
Don’t forget to check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll (also temporary) to see some of the cool ideas other Daring Bakers came up with for this challenge.