But first the obligatory lines...
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.
And now on to Bond, James Bond, Britain's finest - now relegated to baking...
"You've got two cookies to make Bond." M snarled at him.
Bond was rather mesmerised, seeing M wearing a black cocktail dress. She always looked so matronly but now she actually looked semi decent. He snuck a peak at her cleavage and then suddenly felt slightly nauseous as he realised he was actually having nasty thoughts of M... terrible, terrible! He really must be getting old.
"Ummm.. cookies M? Dont you mean biscuits?" Bond replied, looking quickly at the floor to avert his eyes from her cleavage which seemed to draw his eyes to them like a magnet.
"Yes, Biscuits to us Brits but you DO know how the Yanks always try and be different. What we know as Biscuits, they call Cookies and what they call Biscuits, we know as Scones. All very confusing really. They confuse things even more by not following the Metric system. Think about it James... part of the reason why the American girls love you so much is because they assume you are talking inches instead of centimetres."
"Centimeters or inches M, it really doesnt matter. Its what you do with it that..."
"Oh Shut up James! Here. Two cookies, err.. biscuits. Go do what you are supposed to do." M held out a dossier.
Bond's heart fell. He sooo hated baking biscuits. He loved eating them, but he just hated baking them. All that fuss in piping out the dough, baking for a short spell then repeating the whole process always got his knickers into a knot. Although, he quite rightly reminded himself, knickers were usually worn by women. He finally understood the emphasis of knickers in the traditional British saying of "to get one's knickers in a knot, meaning to get flustered or agitated. It was knickers and not underpants as it was simply because it was women that always got flustered and agitated - especially around him....and then he so enjoyed unknotting the knot in their knickers.
"Your mind wandering again Bond?" M queried.
Bond snapped out of his reverie and reached out to take the dossier from M. "Blasted biscuits." he mumbled quietly to himself as he briefly wondered if M had Her knickers in a knot...
Bond looked through the dossier in detail. His frown turned to a scowl as he read that he was required to make Chocolate Covered Marshmallow cookies. Not quite his cup of tea and the bigger problem was that it really wouldnt even GO with a cup of tea. Certainly not Earl Grey or even English Breakfast for that matter. His eyes lit up a little as he saw that the second recipe was for a Milano Biscuit.
Aaaah!! Milano! He recalled that lovely Italian agent, Francesca Sofia Giada Alessandra Valentina del Piero. He smiled at how he thought he would be meeting 5 women and how it had turned out to be one woman with 5 names. She was one of the most beautiful women he had ever met let alone ever laid eyes upon and not to mention laying his hands all over and of course laying in the other sense of the word... her knickers were pretty too - definitely no knots in them.
Then there was the time that they went to watch AC Milan playing at the San Siro but he hardly remembered the match - he was too enamoured with Dolcezza (that was his pet name for her that meant Honey) in their very own corporate box. Good thing too as he found Italian football so boringly boring. The best thing about the Corporate Box though were the Milano biscuits that he had eaten.
It was only when he returned back to England that he realised that Milano cookies are a trademarked dessert manufactured by Pepperidge Farm as part of their series of "European" cookies. There is really nothing Italian or Milanish about the Milano biscuit. Further checks showed that the Milano was created as a result of Pepperidge Farm's original cookie concept, the Naples, which was a single vanilla wafer cookie with dark chocolate filling topping it that would often get stuck together when shipped to and sold in warmer climates. The company resolved the problem by sandwiching Naples cookies together, creating the new Milano variety.
Bond returned to the dossier and his eyes lit up at the very last line that read:
* You can either do both recipes or just choose one.
"Bully for you Nicole!" Bond punched his fist into the air, happy that he only had to make one biscuit. Now that Milano would go really well with English Breakfast as well as Earl Grey. Why for that matter even Prince of Wales and Lemon Scented would go very well with the Milano. Ahhh... nothing like a good cup of Twinings Tea!
As usual, Bond woke up early on a Saturday morning to do the challenge. He decided he was going to half the recipe and just make a small batch and that is exactly what he did. Everything mixed up rather well and he followed the recipe exactly as it was written. Bond felt that the mix was a little thin but he plodded on anyway. he used a large tray to pipe out his dough and stuck it into the oven. Alas, when the biscuits came out, they were very thin. Almost to the point of looking and tasting like Tuilles. Further, the biscuits were extremely sweet. The children that he offered the biscuits to were not impressed and thumbed their noses at him.
Bond was disappointed. Very, very disappointed.
Nonetheless, the next weekend, he decided he was going to try and make it again. Again he halved the recipe but this time, he added a little bit more flour and also cut down on the sugar. This time the dough seemed a little firmer. Bond piped out nice strips onto his baking sheet and let the biscuits bake for about 15 minutes. This seemed to work a charm and the biscuits came out looking decent. They didnt taste nearly as sweet either.
With excitement growing, Bond melted the chocolate and when the biscuits had cooled, smeared the chocolate on and sandwhiched the biscutis together. They certainly looked like Milano's but did they Taste like Milano's?
They were very good indeed! Perhaps not as nice as the professional Pepperidge Farm ones but still bloody good!
"Well done old chap" Bond smiled to himself as he sunk his teeth into a Milano and thought of Francesca Sofia Giada Alessandra Valentina del Piero...
and so ends another installment of Bond, James Bond, Britain's finest!
How did my wonderful food tasters like it?
My Principessa loved it as you can well see! My son enjoyed it as well and both of them loved the dark chocolate melding with the slight lemon flavour of the biscuit. The biscuits didnt last long and I was left wondering if I should have made a full batch instead of being stingy and just doing the half measure...
Thanks Nicole for a great challenge that although failed at first, turned out really well on the second try!
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website (changes in parentheses)
Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies
• 170grams unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (2 cups) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites from about 6 eggs
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (1 3/4 cups) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested
1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 (15)minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.