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.
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.
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.