Happy Hour with the Daring Bakers

Nostalgia seems to drive many cooks to recreate “classic” recipes, testing them against hazy memories in hopes of discovering something just as good, or better yet, even more delicious than the original. Entering into this month’s Daring Baker challenge, I had the sense that many of my fellow bakers had this exact mission in mind, whether the resulting comparisons would be intentional or not. However, having long since forgotten my last experience of eating a Milano cookie perhaps a decade ago, and never having shared the company of a Mallomar at all, it was a whole new arena for me, and I was very excited about that. Without wistful recollections to weigh me down and close my mind off to new ideas, the potential for innovation that each cookie held was more tempting than the promise of a sweet treat alone. Despite rushing off to Paris and a number of deadline crunches, there was just no way I would miss this challenge.

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.

Where, oh where to start? Hemming and hawing over various shapes, presentations, and tastes, I finally settled on a simpler approach and focused on adding fresh flavors to these otherwise uninspiring chocolate-and-vanilla childhood staples. With the terrible heat and unquenchable thirst that it brings, the refreshing zest of a few summery drinks sounded like the perfect place to start.

And it wasn’t just a liquid fix I was craving! Fresh lime zest and mint straight from the garden made their way into the raw batter, giving the crisp cookies a delightful zip. Infusing the ganache of my Milano look-alikes with a healthy splash of rum was what really pulled the treat together though, creating irresistible mojito milans.

The real challenge, as one may have guessed, was creating a vegan marshmallow for the mallomars. Luckily, I had been experimenting recently on just that fluffy confection in question, so I had a pretty good grasp of it from the start. Although my mallow was a bit too soft in the end, all was not lost- into the hemisphere mold it went, and a long stay in the freezer fixed the situation.

This time around, my base cookies were imbued with the zest of an orange, and all of the plain water in my mallows was replaced with champagne. A quick dip in some dark chocolate, and voila- Mimosa mallomars! Both a refined, mature treat that’s still fun and a bit whimsical at the same time.

Time was not on my side, and I didn’t manage to squeeze in the complicated plating originally planned for these lovely mallomars, but at least this was something. Dipping one of the extra cookies half way in chocolate, and then topping that with a big scoop of chocolate ice cream, it was a pleasing, if not impressive, dessert all together. Really, it didn’t need a single thing to make it any more special though, as the mallow is an all-day recipe, making it a rare treat indeed.

Alone and unadorned though, both treats were even better when served chilled!

65 thoughts on “Happy Hour with the Daring Bakers

  1. These look very good, your mallow cookies in particular, Hannah. Love their perfect half-sphere shapes.
    The vegan Milano recipe didn’t work out as well as I expected, but they weren’t bad at all.

  2. Hannah, stop turning out perfection already, will ya? LOL Your cookies are amazing in looks and creativity, and your photos are gorgeous as always. Nicely done!

  3. mojito milans and mimosa mallomars beautiful flavours and the presentation is superb just right I think also. Beautiful moulding of the mallows. Bravo on the lovely results. Cheers from Audax in Australia

  4. Beautiful pictures..I couldn’t help but to drool over the set palte with ice-cream on top of the cookie:)

  5. Waouw, a true leader that little Hannah
    I wonder how you did …
    In any case, it is always so beautiful and appetizing!
    I am a fan, you’re really talented!

    Bravo to you, beautiful work.

  6. Wow!!! Your milano┬ís are just pefect but thouse hemi-esphered mallows… I love them!!! Great job, as always. And amazing photos too.

  7. On this side of the water, Mallomars are known as ‘Bradford Teacakes’ and they come with a squirt of raspberry jam inside. These look decidedly more decadent though! If I could find a good vegan marshmallow recipe I would invest a day recreating these treats too!!!

  8. Great job on your challenge and your mallows look absolutely stunning. Love the presentation and the pics.

  9. You are amazing. Every time I come here you have done yet another amazing feat with any baking challenge that comes your way. I am so in awe of you :) Gorgeous mallows and your milans look PERFECT. Wow, lady!

  10. And you’re saying you didn’t have the time to plate it up in a nice way?? Hannah, this looks already absolutely perfect! Love the addition of the icecream on the remaining cookie and both your mallows as well as the milano cookies looks absolutely delicious!

  11. I’m amazed. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read the title of this post, but it suits your creations incredibly. As a happy hour and a mint Milano fanatic, well done!

  12. These look fantastic! And I love the flavor combinations, they are great! I just might have to make these cookies all over again!

  13. As always, ever so beautiful! It’s just ridiculous how challenge after challenge you turn up with gorgeous, delicious-looking finished products… in a good way, of course. :D

  14. I love what you’ve accomplished during this challenge. They look scrumptious enough to be saved forever!

  15. Both of these cookies are so incredibly creative! They look fantastic and your flavor combinations sound really really delicious. Awesome way to take on the challenge!

  16. Oh my God YUM! I couldn’t care less about original Milanos and Malomars, but I want to stuff my face with your boozy cookies. *drool*

  17. Mojito milanos–you’re a girl after my own heart! (In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my mojito cream puffs a couple posts down on my blog) :)

  18. I’ve gotta tell ya… I went to the original Vegan Milano post on the PPK and immediately unplugged my computer, brought it into the kitchen, and made these. They were SCRUMP-SHUSS!! :D

  19. I agree with one of the above comments – where can I find the vegan marshmallow recipe?! I’ve been searching…

    These look fantastic. You truly are incredible.

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