Friday, October 15, 2010

Homemade Pepperidge Farm Cookies

When I was a kid, one of my favorite treats was a box of assorted cookies from the Pepperidge Farm "Distinctive" Collection. There were buttery chessman cookies, thin cookies straws, pecan cookies (which I avoided), and then Milanos, two butter cookies sandwiched with semisweet chocolate.

Recently I found a Recipe (click here for the exact instructions) to make a homemade version of the Milanos, and while visiting my mother in Michigan, we decided to try them out.

The cookies themselves couldn't be easier. Cream butter, sugar, add vanilla and an egg, then flour and salt.  Fill a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off, and then pipe out 2-inch worms onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Yes, that's what they look like, worms of dough. Be sure to leave at least a 1/2 inch of space, maybe even a bit more, between each worm. These suckers spread.

Refrigerate the cookie sheets about 20 minutes, until the dough firms up, and then bake in a 325 oven for about 15 minutes. You're looking for golden brown edges. I tried baking two cookie sheets at a time and found that one sheet got done much faster than the other. In the end, it probably would have been just as easy to bake them one at a time.

When the cookies are cool, frost one side with melted chocolate and the other with a white glaze made out of confectioner's sugar and mint extract. Proceed to make sandwiches.

My mom happened to have some Milanos on hand, so we did a taste test. Frankly, there was no contest. The boxed cookies, while good, tasted dry compared with the buttery homemade ones. And the nicely subtle hint of mint added an interesting depth of flavor to the chocolate without overpowering it.

Thanks for the inspiration, Pepperidge Farm, but with all due respect, I'm afraid I'll have to go with homemade Milanos from now on.  But don't worry, you've still got those sinfully rich buttery chessmen cookies to fall back on.

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