How to Make Milano Cookies at Home

April 22, 2014

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provinicial is sharing a recipe for cookies that are as elegant and sophisticated as you are. 

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I have eaten more Milano cookies in my lifetime than I care to admit (and Brussels, too). I'm sure I'm not the only one with a weakness for crisp, buttery cookies sandwiched around chocolate.

Several years ago, I set out to find a homemade version of the Milano. I first stumbled upon a recipe for airy cookies, made mostly from egg whites, sandwiched with chocolate ganache. They were very tasty in their own right, but not quite what I was craving. Then, Martha came to the rescue with a recipe that was more biscuit-like -- exactly the Milano I was looking for.

More: Recreate all of your other favorite cookies, starting with graham crackers and Fig Newtons.

These cookies take a little bit of time to put together, but they’re well worth the effort. And adding a little bit of orange zest in the last step makes them even better. This recipe yields a lot of cookies, but any extras will keep well in an airtight container in the freezer.

Homemade Milano Cookies

Very lightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 whole eggs
1 egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Zest of one orange (optional)

Preheat oven to 325° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Combine the flour and the salt and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add in the whole eggs and the egg white, then the vanilla, and continue to beat on high until the mixture is light and fluffy. Lower the speed and gradually beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Transfer the batter to a plastic bag with a 1/2-inch hole snipped in one corner. Pipe the batter into 2 inch-long strips. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies have just begun to brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer them to cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

Arrange cookie halves in pairs of similar shape and size. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or a fake double boiler) until smooth, then remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Spoon the chocolate onto one cookie half, and sprinkle on a pinch of orange zest. Gently press the other half on top until the chocolate just reaches the edges. Repeat with the remaining cookies and let the sandwiches sit until the chocolate has set.

Any extra cookies will keep well in an airtight container in the freezer.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Photos by Carey Nershi

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Noelle Sadie Poe
    Noelle Sadie Poe
  • LittleFrier
  • GourMel
  • Paulaob
  • Patricia Bryan
    Patricia Bryan
Lover of simple food and cocktails served with a single giant ice cube. Raised in the NY Schoharie Valley; currently residing in Burlington, VT. Blogger at reclaimingprovincial.com.


Noelle S. December 22, 2014
I'm confused. "Extra" cookies? What is an "extra" cookie?
LittleFrier November 13, 2014
Where can you find that groovy scale?
GourMel May 4, 2014
I have a ridiculous question: I accidentally combined the flour and sugar instead of flour and salt. Can I continue or is it imperative that sugar gets creamed with the butter from the start (i.e. I have to throw out all this flour and sugar)?
Carey N. May 4, 2014
I think they should still turn out alright, Melanie — no need to start from scratch. Let me know how it goes! :)
Paulaob April 26, 2014
I made these today and they came out very good, although I may have overbeat the dough because the cookie part seemed a little dense. Have you ever tried adding another egg white to make cookies a little crispier? It took me a few batches to get the hang of piping these, but then it was easy. The flavor was wonderful with the chocolate and orange. Thanks.
Carey N. May 4, 2014
Sorry for the delayed response on this! If I happen to pipe out thicker portions of the dough, I do find that the cookies are slightly more dense than I like. I haven't tried adding an additional egg white. If you give it a go, let me know how it works out. (Also, re: the question below: it should be 3.5 doz assembled cookies.) :)
Paulaob April 25, 2014
Does this make 3 1/2 dz. cookies after they have been assembled or before? Thanks.
Patricia B. April 24, 2014
I haven't tried these yet but there is no mention on the best way to split the cookies. I can imagine it might be a little tricky as they look rather fragile. Any suggestions from anyone who's made them?
Judith R. April 24, 2014
You don't split them. You use two cookies. In this recipe, each one as baked is consideed a half of a sandwich cookie.
Genevieve B. April 23, 2014
Think this dough is freezeable? Seems like you might lose some of the texture, but I'd love to be able to prep the dough ahead of time.
Carey N. May 4, 2014
Although I haven't tried it myself, I think the dough should stand up to freezing.
Amandalovesveggies April 23, 2014
Thinking about doing "flax eggs" for a replacement for the eggs. But any ideas for a replacement for the egg white? Maybe I'll just do 3 flax eggs?
Carey N. May 4, 2014
I think 3 flax eggs would probably work just fine. If you give it a try, let me know how they turn out!
Nik S. April 23, 2014
OMG, these are amazing, I've never considered making them at home, until now! Thanks for sharing this, Carey :)
Carey N. May 4, 2014
Thanks, Nik! :)
Lan |. April 23, 2014
gawd, you must've been hawking the oven to make sure these babies don't burn, they are such perfection!
Carey N. April 23, 2014
Omg, YUP. What I wouldn't give for an oven with a light and a window...
skb April 23, 2014
I LOVE that little blue and white bowl. Any idea where it's from? (Does it come with the cookies??)
Carey N. April 23, 2014
Hehe! Isn't it gorgeous? It's from Art & Manufacture (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtetManufacture). I bought it along with the plate holding the butter and eggs in the mise en place shot, and a million other things because I have no self control when it comes to pretty dishes...
skb April 23, 2014
Oh, you delightful human being...thank you, Carey!! You clearly have GREAT taste in every sense!
Cynthia C. April 23, 2014
YES yes yes!!! How are these so perfect?!
Carey N. April 23, 2014
Thanks, Cynthia!! Aren't they the cutest? :)
Beth100 April 22, 2014
Have had an ongoing love affair with Milano cookies since childhood! Did you try these with the mint glaze too, and just preferred them without?
Carey N. April 23, 2014
I have yet to try them with the mint glaze (I was always partial to plain or orange), but I'm sure it's delicious!
ginam April 22, 2014
Yummy! Plus no palm oil (shudder). Thanks!
Carey N. April 23, 2014
Yes yes. No shudder-worthy ingredients here. :)
Sophia H. April 22, 2014
OH, not another cookie recipe.... Thank you so much!
Carey N. April 23, 2014
Oh YES. ;)
fiveandspice April 22, 2014
YUM!!!!!! I cannot wait to make these.
Carey N. April 23, 2014
Thanks, Emily! They are so tasty. :)
lisina April 22, 2014
eeeeek!!!! thank you for posting this!
Carey N. April 23, 2014
You are so welcome. ;)
Cindy A. April 22, 2014
Must make!
Carey N. April 23, 2014
molly Y. April 22, 2014
Carey N. April 23, 2014
:D Perfectly dangerous too. Empire waist dresses until my pants fit again.
Carey N. April 23, 2014
Thanks, Michelle!