I am very pleased to present my second Daring Kitchen challenge which is simultaneously my very first Daring Bakers endeavour. Back home there was a Pepperidge Farm outlet store and I don’t think we ever walked out the door without a package of Milano cookies. They are quite easy to make and take very little time to prepare and bake. The cookie can end up quite tough if you overwork the batter so be careful when you incorporate the flour!

Cristoforo Munari, Still-life with Porcelain Vases, Flute, Books, and Oranges, 1706-1713

The late-Baroque, Italian painter, Cristoforno Munari worked predominantly in still life. The standards of Baroque art were encouraged by the Roman Catholic church and embodied iconography and monarchy though an intensely precise handling of paint. Munari was an official court painter for the Medici family, the predominant sponsor of all Renaissance art in Florence. The disarray of the subject matter, the overturned bowl, curled pages, and precariously place instrument were characteristic of Munari’s compositions. He often suggested the jovial glut of the court through carefully composed chaos (1).

Originally made by Pepperidge Farm, the Milano cookie was invented through the failure of the Naples cookie. Much like the Milano, the Naples was made of a wafer-like cookie with a rich chocolate topping. However, in warmer climates the cookies would stick together prompting Pepperidge Farm to turn them into a sandwich cookie. The Milano was part of the ‘European’ series the company rolled out and were marketed to adults as an indulgence sweet rather than a treat for children (2).

{Milano Cookies}

adapted from the Food Network (recipe by Gale Gand)
makes about a baker’s dozen

6 TB butter
1 1/4 c icing sugar
3 egg whites
1 TB vanilla extract
1 TB lemon zest
3/4 c flour

{filling}
1/4 c double cream
3/4 c chocolate chips
1 TB orange zest

Cream the butter and the sugar together. Gradually add the egg whites and the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Add the flour and mix until just combined. With a small tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto parchment paper on a baking tray. Space the batter two inches apart (they will spread while baking).

Preheat the oven to 180 and bake for 10 minutes until the edges are golden. Let cool.

Heat the double cream in a small saucepan until scalded. Pour over the chocolate and whisk. Add the orange zest and continue to whisk until well combined. Let cool. Sandwich the filling between the flat sides of two cookies.