Milano Cookies

by Andie Mitchell on August 23, 2010

I think the first person to tell me I ate too much was my Nana. It was summer, 1993. I was eight. One afternoon, just as we’d finished “Days of Our Lives,” she sat me down in her wicker bedroom chair and told me, “Andrea…I think you’re eating too many bananas.”

Really, Nana? Bananas? I think my follow-up was, “Are they going extinct?”

She didn’t quite respond to that. Instead, she said something something something, blah blah blah, “It’s not good to eat so much.”

I wasn’t sure what she meant. Did she want me to only eat one of the six-square-inch cinnamon pecan sticky buns she bought us from Kroger? Should I not microwave them and then smear a little butter between the glazed coils? I decided she would never want me to discontinue that.

I told her I’d do my best. I sprinkled Equal on my Rice Krispies, ate two Lean Cuisines in a row, and used Cool Whip like a face cream. Hmm. Still too much, said Nana.

I decided I’d do as Nana did. I wore blue eyeliner, started referring to my Saturday morning cartoons as “my soaps,” sprayed Aqua Net around my head like a halo, and called people by the wrong name. I thought Nana’s schtick was running through the list of her sons’ names before calling out mine. Come to find out, that was simply senility.

You might be wondering if I ever lost any weight after Nana’s talking-to. No. In an attempt to be like Nana, I didn’t account for the fact that Nana was 250 lbs, a closet eater, with diabetes. Mimicking her might have been the wrong route.

Thinking about it now, I laugh.

Nana didn’t mean to give me a complex. And truth be told, I didn’t develop one. Not then, anyway. She was just loud and somewhat ludicrous. The type who turned most sentences into song. We were nothing if not honest. One time I told her that her laugh bothered my ears. And that she was selfish with the Nintendo controller. For the record, she really did hog Zelda.

Milano cookies seemed to me to be pre-portioned. I assumed Pepperidge Farm was being helpful by nestling four to a paper cup in that folded white bag. I remember the buttery shortbread, the way it crumbled, dissolved, on my tongue. The sandy texture seeming appropriate given the day at the beach I’d spent with Nana. The bum of my size 6X swimsuit sagging with wet sand. I’d tell Nana, “I love these as much as I love Anthony.” My brother looked up from the next room.

I don’t know which genius over at Pepperidge Farm can be thanked for the Milano. Who created that faint vanilla-scented shortbread oval? Who smeared creamy, dark chocolate between the original two? Whoever it was, I’d like to kiss them squarely on the mouth. The cookie, in its simple sandy state, is what I’d describe as perfect. Buttery, richly chocolatey, and smooth.

This recipe is supposedly from the kitchen at Pepperidge Farm. I found it in a book, “More of America’s Most Wanted Recipes.” Inside, there are pages of copycat recipes to mimic the most beloved food products and restaurant menu items. This Milano cookie is a masterpiece. So simple that I could ask Dee Dee to make it in between naps.

And the result? Have mercy.

Milano Cookies (recipe found in More of America’s Most Wanted Recipes)

(Makes 20)

Shortbread Cookies:

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Chocolate Sauce:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 TBSP salted butter

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large bowl until fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract, then the flour, 1 cup at a time, and stir until well incorporated.

Shape the dough into 40 small balls, then roll them and press them into ovals.

Place the cookie dough, 2 inches apart, on your prepared baking sheets and bake for 13- 15 minutes, or until golden. This baking time is very approximate, you must simply watch them once you reach the twelve minute mark, as overbaking them would be a fate worse than death.

Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the chocolate sauce while the cookies cool. Melt the chocolate chips and the 1 tablespoon of butter in a small bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for an additional 15 seconds if necessary. You do not want to burn the chocolate, simply stir it until it melts. Let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of chocolate onto one underside of a cookie, then press another on top and press lightly to seal the two. Let the cookies rest on a cooled baking sheet until the chocolate hardens a bit.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie @SavvyEats August 23, 2010 at 9:42 am

YUM. I just got some nutella for the first time in AGES yesterday…which may have to be the filling when I make these :)

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Sana August 23, 2010 at 11:55 am

Just wait till you go to Italy. They are obsessed with Nutella!!

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Jessica @ How Sweet August 23, 2010 at 9:42 am

I love Milano cookies and I never buy them! I need to make these at home now. I think my husband would love them.

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape August 23, 2010 at 9:52 am

Oh my goodness, I love Milano cookies! When I was little I used to always eat them. And like you, I thought the four cookies nestled in the paper liners were preportioned, haha. I’m looking forward to trying out this recipe now!!

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Sophie @ yumventures August 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

These look just like the real thing! Nana would be proud :)

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cozydelicious August 23, 2010 at 10:05 am

These were my all-time favorite cookies as a kid! I have always wante dto make my own… so his is awesome… but what will I do without the helpful four-cookie layer portion control? This could be quite dangerous!

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Cindy August 23, 2010 at 10:08 am

I remember my grandma doing the aqua net halo thing too…

see, I make sugar cookie dough, just to eat.

Dangerous teritory…very dangerous.

book is hitting the post office today!
xo

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Kelly August 23, 2010 at 10:08 am

I loveee milano cookies. I especially love the fruit ones they make now, strawberry and raspberry flavors are so good!

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Jessie (Bites and Pieces) August 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

I used to love Milano cookies before I went vegan! I bet I can veganize this recipe and be able to enjoy them again. Thanks for sharing! :)

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 23, 2010 at 10:20 am

I love Milano cookies. Family Circle just had a recipe for these and other snacks–like Hostess cupcakes. They look so good and I’m sure they’re about a bazillion times better than the Peperidge Farm variety.

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Amy @ Second City Randomness August 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

There’s something to be said about a good shortbread cookie- I never fully appreciated them growing up because my mom rarely made them. And we rarely deviated from chips ahoy or oreos when purchasing cookies from the store. Clearly my life lacked variety. lol

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Erica August 23, 2010 at 10:39 am

These look better than the original! Lovely! DEEEEEEEEE! You are so cute. Love those wrinkles. Its funny how people in our lives approach talking to us about our issues. :)

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Fervent Foodie August 23, 2010 at 11:08 am

Oh my….. those look delicious! I keep a bag of milano’s in my desk drawer for “emergencies”. Somehow I have the willpower to not down the entire bag. Still not sure how I do that :)

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Jennifer @ Truly Vibrant August 23, 2010 at 11:29 am

Those look fantastic! Mint milanos are a favorite of mine from the past that I don’t indulge in anymore since they are processed, but I might have to save this recipe for a homemade rainy day treat. I’m betting using dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet and maybe adding some peppermint extract would replicate my old favorites nicely!

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Evan Thomas August 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm

This recipe sounds amazing! Who can resist a good milano(when I could eat gluten, my favorite were the mint ones).
I also really love how your story starts, as I sit here watching Days right now.

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justcooknyc August 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm

it’s really this easy? why am i not making these every day?

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Tina August 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm

The relationships with grandparents is so special. And those cookies look like they are too. Yum!

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Anna August 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Milanos never taste as good as I want them to, but I think it’s because they’re store-bought. I bet these would taste JUST as good as I’d want them to :-)

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Emily August 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Ooh, excellent! Thanks so much for this. So funny, the impact our grandmas have on us. I remember mine once told me it wasn’t good to eat in between meals and since then I’ve always felt a little self-conscious about snacking!

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Megan (Braise The Roof) August 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm

You make me laugh, friend. Oh, Nana, why must you hog Zelda? Sharing is caring. And Zelda cares.

I now have an answer to why Milanos taste so good. Buttah. :)

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Monique@She's Going The Distance August 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Yum!! Those look soooo good! I’d for sure put Nutella inside of the cookies :)

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One Healthy Apple August 23, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Coming from a kid who was overweight from the age of about 8, I remember such conversations. I kind love how senile people have nothing to lose and spill their guts!

You are a wonderful story teller.

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Can You Stay for Dinner August 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Thanks so much!

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runeatdatesleep August 23, 2010 at 9:34 pm

I love your writing, and I love how similar our childhoods of obesity were.

I need to try these cookies!

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine August 24, 2010 at 6:40 am

I love Milanos!! Even more now that they make extra-dark ones :) God, it’s been ages since I had them though….

Hope you have a wonderful day love!!

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Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life August 24, 2010 at 9:16 am

There’s nothing like a Milano cookie….except for a homemade one!

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Jennifer August 25, 2010 at 11:22 am

Yet another good story from you Andrea. Once again, cue the soothing music :) I love these cookies but haven’t had them in a while. So it’s much better to go make your recipe than to go buy them :)

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Thee Romantic October 22, 2010 at 1:02 am

mmmmmm :)

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Amanda February 20, 2011 at 5:28 am

HOLY CRAP Thank you to everyone. I could burst with JOY I’m so full of it right now. Guess who’s making this bad boys with Nutella (like PP suggested) MMMMMMMMMMMM Yes…I’m that excited MMMMMM is all I can say.

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Can You Stay for Dinner February 20, 2011 at 7:51 am

So happy you’re going to make them Amanda!

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Amanda February 20, 2011 at 11:49 am

There will be pictures to encompass how awesome it is.

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