Bittersweet Chocolate Milanos

I frankly don’t trust anyone who hasn’t, at some point in her life, eaten a whole pack of Pepperidge Farm cookies by herself in one sitting. After finishing my first serious paper at college, I unwound by buying a bag of Captiva Dark Chocolate Brownie cookies and eating every last one of them before dinner.

Still, there’s nothing better than a homemade cookie. No matter how convenient the Farm is, especially for a college student, you really can’t beat something fresh out of the oven.

As I ate a few Milano cookies last week, I thought to myself, “… I could make these.” There’s really not much to them: a thin layer of dark chocolate sandwiched between two sugar cookies, and that’s it. They say the best plans are the simplest ones, and that’s certainly true for this little treat. Now the homemade kind may not be quite as uniform as the real thing (after all, I don’t have an industrial cookie-making plant), but it’s the taste that counts, and in that regard these a more than a fair match for the Pepperidge originals.

Bittersweet Chocolate Milanos

Recipe adapted from Handle the Heat
Yields 21 cookies

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, in chip form or coarsely chopped

1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixture, beat butter and granulated sugar on high, scraping down bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined.

2. Transfer dough to a quart-size zip-top bag; with scissors, snip a 3/4-inch hole in one corner (or use a pastry bag with a plain tip). Pipe 54 cookies (3/4 by 2 inches), 1/2 inch apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, 20 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Bake until cookies are light golden at edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer immediately to wire racks and let cool.

5. Melt chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave, about 1 1/2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds.

6. With a table knife or small offset spatula, spread chocolate on flat side of half the cookies and sandwich cookie halves together. If your chocolate doesn’t set, put it in the refrigerator until it hardens. Cookies can be stored in an air-tight container up to 5 days.

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