"Sweet Stuff" is a collection of dessert recipes from Karen Barker - the 2003 winner of the Best Pastry Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation, the 1999 winner of Bon Appétit's American Food and Entertaining Award for Best Pastry Chef, and the co-owner of Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina. Chef Barker knows her desserts and as she says "Like many people, I believe that one should always save room for dessert". In "Sweet Stuff" Karen does more than that by presenting a full range of recipes including pies, cakes, frozen treats, cookies and even breakfast sweets. Filled with hints and suggestions 'Sweet Stuff' is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Test it out with "My Milanos" Karen's version of those yummy Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies.
My Milanos (Made with Brown Edge Wafer Cookies)
From Sweet Stuff: Karen Barker's American Desserts by Karen Barker. Copyright (c) 2004 by Karen Barker. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.
Makes 2 ½ dozen sandwich cookies
By far, my favorite commercially produced cookie is a crisp, buttery, chocolate-filled Pepperidge Farm Milano (the original, please). In "Not Afraid of Flavor", I included a recipe for a delicate brown edge wafer cookie. If you sandwich semisweet chocolate with two of these, you wind up with a cookie that is remarkably similar to my beloved Milano.
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silpats or lightly butter the sheets. Do not bake these cookies on parchment paper.
2. Using a mixer with a paddle, cream the butter with the sugar. Add the egg whites and mix till well combined. Add the salt, flour, and vanilla and mix just until blended, scraping the bowl once or twice. This dough can be made ahead if refrigerated, bring to room temperature and stir lightly before forming into cookies.
3. Place the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a plain, large open tip. Pipe small discs out onto the baking sheet, making each cookie about 1 inch in diameter. Lightly flatten any Hershey's Kisses shaped points that might have formed with a damp fingertip. Space the cookies 1 ½ inches apart, as they will spread.
4. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes. When done, the outer perimeter of the cookies will be golden brown. Immediately remove the cookies from their baking sheets with a spatula, placing them on a rack to cool.
5. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Pair the cookies, trying to match shapes and sizes as much as possible. Turn one cookie from each pair over so it is bottom side up and place about 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate in the center. Take the corresponding tops and lightly press down to form chocolate-filled sandwiches.
6. You should have some melted chocolate left. For a pretty presentation, I place this in a pastry bag with a fine writing tip (or you can make your own parchment paper cone or simply use a plastic zip lock back and snip off a corner. Line the filled sandwiches up in rows on a parchment lined sheet and, using a zigzag motion, pipe fine lines of chocolate back and forth across the cookies. Chill the cookies briefly just to set the chocolate. These are best served within 2 days of when they are made. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, separating layers of cookies with parchment paper.
Baker's Note: Once they are baked, these cookies are placed on a rack to cool. If left on the hot baking sheet, they have a tendency to over brown.
Serving Suggestions: These are delicious with an array of fruits, sorbets, and ice creams. I love them at the very end of a meal with a cup of coffee.
About Sweet Stuff
Drawing on years of professional experience as well as memories of cooking and baking from her New York childhood, Karen Barker gives us the benefit of cooking alongside an experienced mentor. Starting with the fundamentals, she offers advice on selecting key ingredients, suggestions for essential kitchen equipment, and even tips on ways to fit dessert-making into the busiest of schedules. Her recipes begin with pastry doughs, sauces, and special toppings that serve as building blocks for other desserts and provide a foundation for home cooks eager to improve their skills. Chapters on pies, fruit desserts, custards, cakes, ice creams, cookies, and breakfast-like desserts feature familiar favorites with a twist, such as key lime coconut pie with rum cream, deep-dish brown sugar plum cobbler, dark chocolate Peppermint Pattie cake, and cornmeal vanilla bean shortbreads. Sweet Stuff offers something irresistable for everyone.
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.
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