September 10, 2007

Vegan Milano Cookies

by IsaChandra

Well, obviously they’re vegan – I just titled it that way for google purposes. Or Ask Jeeves, if you prefer.

The PPK messages boards were clamouring for a version of these and what the PPK message board wants, the PPK message board gets. They taste pretty much as I remember them, although I can’t tell you the last time I had one since I am, like, what? A level 11 vegan by now? I didn’t bother coming up with a cutesy name for them, so if anyone can think of one, have at it!

Vegan Milanos
Makes 16 cookies

Vegan Milano Cookies

For those of us who miss suckling at the corporate teat of Pepperidge Farm, here is a veganized version of everyone’s favorite chocolate sandwich cookie. Even though there is a bit of orange zest in the batter, these aren’t orange flavored, the zest just kind of pulls everything together and gives a sunny note of somethin’ somethin’. I think bittersweet chocolate will give the most authentic flavor, but use semi-sweet if that’s what you got. And heed the directions to flour your hands before forming each cookie – otherwise the dough will stick.

1/3 cup rice milk (or soy, whatever you got)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Scant 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 large cookie sheets.

In a large mixing bowl, use a strong fork to mix together milk, sugar, oil, vanilla and zest.

Add half of the flour, along with the cornstarch, baking powder and salt; mix well. Add the remaining flour and mix until you have a soft, pliable dough.

Make sure your hands are very clean and dry, and dust them with flour. Stuffs about to get messy. Sort of.

Grab about 1 tablespoon’s worth of dough and roll it into a ball, and then roll into a log that’s about 1 1/2 inches long. Flatten with the palms of your hand to create an oval that is 2 inches long and 1 inch across, then straighten the edges out with your fingers. Basically, if you know what a milano looks like, that’s the shape your going for. But this is homemade, so don’t try to be perfect. You aren’t a machine (or are you?)

Continue with the rest of the dough, flouring your hands before you form each cookie, until you have 16 cookies placed about 1 inch apart (they don’t spread much.) I had to do this in 2 batches because of my small oven, so while these baked I started my next batch of 16. If you’ve got a big oven then do both trays of 16 at once.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until tops are firm and edges are ever so slightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes. Use a thin, flexible spatula to transfer to a cooling rack. Meanwhile, bake your next batch and melt your chocolate*.

Once cookies are cool enough to handle (only about 10 minutes), take a cookie and dip the bottom into the chocolate. Then take another cookie and dip it, and place the dipped sides together to form a sandwich. Don’t press them hard lest the chocolate smush out. Place them on a tray or several plates that will fit in your fridge. Continue with the remaining cookies until you have 16 sandwiches. Have a wet rag at the ready to wipe your fingers between putting the cookies together, to avoid chocolate fingerprints on the cookies. Or just lick the chocolate off. Or just decide that who cares about chocolate fingerprints.

Place cookies in the fridge to set for at least an hour. Bring back to room temperature before serving (about 1/2 an hour.) Call it a day.

*You know how to melt chocolate, right?

  • September 10, 2007 at 1:05 am: Julie

    Oh my. All my dreams have come true (and my pant size has gone up three times just from reading this). I will definitely be making these in the next week.

  • September 10, 2007 at 1:29 am: michelle crocodile

    god i love you. i just keep loving you more and more.

  • September 10, 2007 at 3:48 am: Amy

    Damn damn damn damn damn – if only I wasn’t on a diet at the moment! When is someone nominating you for vegan sainthood?

  • September 10, 2007 at 3:52 am: melisser

    So very excited.

  • September 10, 2007 at 10:02 am: Vegan_Noodle

    You are my hero….

  • September 10, 2007 at 10:07 am: Deb Schiff

    Texture question: are they crisp like Milanos? Or, more spongy? Also, you know how I am about agave nectar, would you recommend I just cut the oil, or trim a bit from the rice milk and the oil to get the liquid/dry ratio on the mark?

    Thanks for always being just about the coolest thing on two legs.

  • September 10, 2007 at 11:08 am: isachandra

    Deb, they are crisp. I wouldn’t recommend agave or you will lose the crispness, but if you were deadset on it you could omit the liquid (and the sugar obviously) and use 1/2 cup agave. And see what happens.

  • September 10, 2007 at 11:37 am: Carolann

    :O I’m sooo excited! Thank you soo much!

  • September 10, 2007 at 3:20 pm: Deirdre Jean

    Bad ass! I wonder how’d they be if they were Vegan Mint Milanos?
    Thanks, Isa.

  • September 11, 2007 at 12:30 am: Christie Love

    Damn those look good.

  • September 11, 2007 at 12:53 am: girl least likely to

    you. are. amazing.

  • September 11, 2007 at 1:16 am: loudykatie

    I had a total *should I sneak one, no I shouldn’t, but I want one, but they’re not vegan, who cares, no way* argument with myself last week over these. I seriously almost squealed with excitement when I read your title. It’s like you knew about my craving and that it was my birthday this week. You are my hero and I love you more than anything in the whole world. Thank you for being amazing.

  • September 11, 2007 at 11:43 am: SaraJane

    Brilliant! I haven’t had cookies like this in ages. I can’t wait to try them.

  • September 12, 2007 at 6:54 pm: veggie molly

    isa, be my wifey.

  • September 13, 2007 at 11:35 am: Bart


  • September 15, 2007 at 8:18 pm: laura

    all bow down to the queen of vegan yumminess – isa, my hero.

  • September 16, 2007 at 1:01 am: al

    oh man, thanks for this! i should really spend more time at the ppk boards.

  • September 19, 2007 at 9:06 am: epski

    Nice. These belong in stores.

  • September 19, 2007 at 10:57 am: Rachel

    These should be *required* to be in stores, but until then, thanks to you all of us get to look like vegan rockstars

  • September 24, 2007 at 3:31 pm: dlatman

    That is awesome! I regularly spend like, $3/box for these cookies. And there’s only about 12-15 in each package. I never thought of making them on my own ’cause it seemed too “complicated;” thanks for demystifying the Milano process.
    Love, your non-vegan cousin

    PS, my favorite way to eat them is with a cup of tea, dunking each one til it reaches saturation, then popping it into my mouth! The chocolate retains a firmness that is so satisfying to bite into. Yum…

  • June 6, 2008 at 8:00 am: Phoebe

    I’m a recent vegan convert at the age of 16, and i made these cokoies last night.
    all i can say is, its lunch time the day after, and there’s one left in the tin.
    they come out looking flawless, they taste heavenly…thankyou for such a wonderful introduction to the PPK and my so far only succesful vegan baking attempt!

  • June 6, 2008 at 8:01 am: Phoebe

    oh, and PS! theyve been nicknamed “Strong Fork Cookies” in my house, beacuse we normally bake everything with a wooden spoon, and the command to use a strong fork seemed rather unusual to me!

  • December 23, 2010 at 9:03 am: Meagan

    Hi,I just made these and they’re AMAZING! I do have to say that I managed to make more than 16 cookies sandwiches. I made closer to 30. Maybe,it’s because I used spelt flour,which is lighter than white flour,which means I had to use more flour,so maybe that’s why I ended up with more batter. Did you find a way to dip the cookies in chocolate with out burning your fingers? If so,let me in on the secret,because it was quite painful.
    I can not wait to serve these to my Danish family (I’m living in Denmark),at Christmas lunch,this Sunday. Some of them still have a hard time that I eat well as a vegan. I love showing up with great desserts to impress them with,so I can show off my vegan cooking skills. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!!!

  • February 5, 2011 at 5:37 am: Ashley Elizabeth

    oh boy…i mad these tonight and they are so GOOD! i could definitely taste the orange in it. i’m also going to make more and share them with my friends at school. thank you for coming up with these amazing recipes for us vegans!

  • April 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm: melissa

    these are SO amazing! i just finished making them! you are my hero!

  • April 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm: adriennefriend

    This recipe is so solid. One suggestion – don’t skip the step of greasing a baking sheet (or jelly roll pan, whatever). I tried to use my Silpat and it resulted in cookies that were insufficiently crisp.

    • April 24, 2011 at 6:17 am: IsaChandra

      I am so down on silpats.

  • July 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm: meliza

    Just made these last night. I don’t know whether to curse you or shower kisses at your feet. I could feel The Fatness encroaching even while I was making them, holy damn are these things legit! The cookies are delicious on their own but when sandwiched with Lindt dark chocolate they’re unstoppable. Thank you for my new go-to, I can totally see these not even getting lost on non-vegan palates! Full of win!

  • August 17, 2011 at 10:35 am: Luke

    Made these last night to bring in to work (along with the maple pecan pie) – went down a storm! My dough was a bit wet, so needed to add more flour than suggested, but came out great. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  • October 24, 2011 at 9:31 pm: Karen

    Oh my these look divine! Just one small problem, I’m unable to eat chocolate. Do you – or anyone who’s already made these – have any recommendations for a suitable alternative? I was thinking peanut or almond butter (and swapping the vanilla for almond extract), but I’d love to figure out a way to make an orange filling that could work as well.


  • December 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm: Liz

    Are these supposed to be hard and crispy? I remember Milanos being on the softer side, and though I only baked them for 14 mins (in an accurately heated oven) then pulled off the pan as soon as they were cool enough to do so, these were HARD. Should I try a shorter baking time next time or is this just how they’re supposed to be?

  • March 24, 2012 at 3:15 am: Zoe

    I want to thank you for sharing this recipe. A much-loved family friend who happens to be vegan has recently been very ill and unable to leave the house, and I used this recipe to make the dessert component of an all-vegan dinner for her. She loved these cookies! I must say, I think they’re an improvement on the original. And they’re so easy to make! You must know some sort of vegan voodoo magic if you can make people forget that eggs and butter ever existed in dessert foods.

    • March 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm: IsaChandra

      Aw, thanks! Hope she gets well real soon.

  • March 30, 2012 at 6:58 am: Michaela

    chocolate isn’t vegan?

  • June 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm: Jess

    I’m not sure what I did wrong, but these cookies came out like bricks! I literally had to bite down using my molars! The taste was spot on, though! Any thoughts?

    • June 19, 2012 at 11:01 pm: IsaChandra

      Baked for too long? Oven temp too high?

  • October 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm: Anagha

    I am pleased to see that this doesn’t use any palm-oil/palm products either. Thank you!

  • October 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm: Anagha

    Finally made these yesterday. I might need to check my true oven temperature because they did come out a bit too crispy. Still good if dipping in coffee, and overall a pretty decent outcome. Great to have such a recipe. I love Milanos!

  • December 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm: Melanie

    These are great. I’m going to make them today (for a party) for the third time. I’ve made raspberry and mint versions already (mix ground, frozen raspberries with the chocolate, mix mint extract with the chocolate). I got some orange extract and I’m going to make some mint and some orange ones today! Its gonna be awesome! :) Thanks!

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  • February 5, 2016 at 3:28 pm: Sally

    I want to make these to send to my daughter at college. Her birthday’s next week and she’s a vegan who’s allergic to nuts She can only really eat baked goods that are home made and these look amazing! Do they need to stay refrigerated or could I sent them through the mail?