Daring Baker challenge to the extreme indeed, I am actually writing this post on my iphone as I am waiting to board my flight to Malaysia in half an hour. I feel bad that I missed out on the last two baking challenges so no matter what, I have to get this post up right on time! Hence, here it is - I give you my version of the Milano Cookies.

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.

I've decided to give the Milano Cookies recipe a try and make a deconstructed version as the main dessert for a degustation dinner I've prepared recently.

I followed the recipe to a tee and it works like a charm. The cookie is so airy and crumbly, I have to be extra careful when giving them a nice curve over wine bottles wrapped in foils. I've snapped quite a few of them as I picked them up and they are so fragile even in the container.

As for the chocolate filling, inspired by Adriano Zumbo, I've made a pop rocks chocolate ganache as the centerpiece. Who would have thought pop corn can be so tasty with chocolate... Yummmm.

As the Milano Cookie is plated as a dessert for a dinner, and also to use up the leftover egg yolks after making the cookies, I also whipped up a choc chip mandarin ice cream to go with it.

I've used Green & Black's organic dark chocolate with orange and spices flavour to give the ice cream a nice aromatic citrus flavour. I also added sugar caramelised mandarin rind for that extra tang and something to chew on on every mouthful.

Thank you so much for the challenge. Much fun and really enjoy the recipe. (Apologies for the short post, as internet is scarce as limited while on vacation)

Milan Cookies Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 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 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.