Sunday, July 26, 2009

Daring Bakers July - Milan Cookies

I know what you're thinking! If you've visited this blog before, you have undoubtedly noticed that the above photo is much better than normal. It's roughly 35,000% better than the photos that I usually post. Thanks to my wonderful Dave, photography geek and boyfriend extrodinaire, for helping out. He's got a way with the camera, and an excellent eye for detail. I'm hoping that he will guest photograph many more blog posts to come!

I grew up just a few miles from a Pepperidge Farm plant, and can fondly remember the scent of freshly baked bread and crackers wafting around town. Today, I associate Pepperidge Farm with some of the best packaged cookies found on grocery store shelves. Attempting to recreate the famous Milano cookie, two crisp, delicate vanilla cookies sandwiched together with dark chocolate ganache, was exciting. I hoped Gale Gand's recipe, the one the Daring Bakers followed this month, would yield a nearly identical confection. I was disappointed in that regard, because although my Milans were tasty, the cookies were slightly chewy, almost like very thin macaroons. I would have preferred a crisper cookie, but wasn't able to acheive that without over browning them, even after dropping the oven temperature from 350° to 300°.

This recipe made roughly a boatload of cookies, and leaves the kitchen smelling exactly like an ice cream parlor. I stored my completely cooled, sandwiched cookies in an airtight container, but was disappointed to wake up to cookies that were without a trace of crunch. They had gone completely soft overnight. So much for that boatload of Milans to last throughout the week - they got trashed instead.

The recipe for Gale Gand's Milan Cookies can be found here.

Thanks to this month's host! 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.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things That Make Me Happy

Tomato and basil bruschetta for a light summer dinner. Seriously, there's nothing better than those flavors, when the tomatoes are perfectly ripe and the basil comes from the backyard. Toss with some finely minced shallot and garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil for a true taste of the season.

My new job as the Assistant Culinary Specialist at Wilton. I love that I love going to work - I'm a new person. More on the job later, after I figure out the company's social media policies.

Receiving emails like this:

Hey Beth,

Seeing your Gchat status lit up reminded me that I was going to send you an email and let you know that Jenny's Mom saved the top of our wedding cake (tradition and all) and we had it the other week b/c it was our anniversary, was GREAT! I never would have thought year-old cake would be any good, but yours was!

Thanks again :)

Hope you are having fun in Chicago. We'll be back in early August, perhaps I'll see you at the Phish show?!

Take care,