Milano Cookies

Milano cookies. You know what we're talking about, yes? The buttery cookies made by Pepperidge Farm that are darn near impossible to not inhale by the fistful? This is the homemade version. And they're better than you can even imagine.

Milano Cookies Recipe

Milano cookies are, in case you’re somehow unfamiliar with the marvel of mid-century American processed foods, “those European vanilla cookies sandwiched together with chocolate from the folks at Pepperidge Farm,” explain the authors of this recipe. [Editor’s Note: Our friends in Canada will know these as Monaco cookies.] And it’s pretty hard to stop at just one. Why bother making them from scratch, you ask? Won’t homemade Milano cookies take longer than a jaunt to the store for a bag of Pepperidge Farm that you rip open the second you get into the car? Why yes, it will. But where’s the satisfaction in that? Where’s the pride? Where’s the strangely soothing longing that comes with prolonged anticipation? Where’s the loveliness that comes with a perfectly imperfect homemade touch? Because seriously, folks, the Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies simply can’t compete with these magnificently lovely homemade Milano cookies. They’re so excellent we actually named the book in which the recipe is found one of our favorite cookbooks of the year. Originally published July 11, 2015.Renee Schettler Rossi

Special Equipment: Ateco tip #895 for piping the cookies and filling them with hot fudge

Milano Cookies Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • 4 H
  • Makes about 36


  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Hot Fudge (we suggest making this the day before and refrigerating it overnight)


  • 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 5 to 10 seconds. Add the sugars and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat the butter mixture until it’s aerated (that means fluffy) and looks like frosting, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to everything together.
  • 2. Pour the milk and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup. In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  • 3. Add the milk and vanilla to the butter mixture in the bowl and mix on medium speed for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until nearly completely incorporated.
  • 4. Add the flour mixture to the bowl all at once and mix on low speed until everything just comes together, approximately 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and mix for another 30 seconds to a minute to ensure the batter is homogeneous. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. With a plastic bench scraper, bring the batter completely together by hand.
  • 5. Fit a pastry bag with the Ateco tip #895 and fill it with the cookie batter.
  • 6. The most challenging part of making these cookies is piping the batter so that the cookies are the same size. To make it easier, fold sheets of parchment paper into thirds like a business letter, using the folds as a template for piping. (For this recipe, make 4 sheets of parchment paper the same dimensions as a half sheet pan (13 by 18 inches). Fold each sheet of parchment into thirds lengthwise like a business letter. Line 4 half sheet pans with the folded parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. (Alternatively, if you don’t have enough pans, you can put the parchment paper directly on the counter and transfer the paper and piped cookies to a sheet pan when a pan frees up.)
  • 7. Holding the pastry bag at a 90-degree angle, pipe 3 rows of 2 1/2-inch-long strips of batter onto the parchment, up to 20 cookies per pan, using the folds in the parchment paper as a guide. As you pipe, keep the pastry tip close to the parchment paper. To release the cookie batter from the tip, run the tip back over the top of the cookie. Refrigerate the sheet pans until firm, at least 20 minutes, working in batches if refrigerator space is limited.
  • 8. Heat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • 9. Bake 1 pan of cookies at a time for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake until the edges are golden brown and the tops are firm, 4 to 6 minutes more. Let the cookies cool completely on the pans. They ought to crisp as they cool. Meanwhile, bake the remaining cookies, 1 pan at a time.
  • 10. When you’re ready to assemble the Milano cookies, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the hot fudge until it lightens to the color of milk chocolate and looks like frosting, 3 minutes.
  • 11. Fit a pastry bag with the Ateco tip #895 and fill the bag with the hot fudge.
  • 12. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper. Sort through the cookies and pair them in sets of 2 cookies of almost identical or similar size. Turn half the cookies over. Pipe even strips of hot fudge down the length of the upturned cookies, leaving a small amount of room at the ends. Top each frosted cookie with the flat side of a second cookie and press lightly to adhere.
  • 13. Place the Milano cookies on a parchment-lined sheet pan and refrigerate until set before serving. (The cookies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days—as if they’ll last that long.)
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Though this Milano cookies recipe requires a little time and effort, the end result is a buttery, fudgy indulgence. The folding of parchment paper made piping the strips of batter easy. I baked 1 sheet of cookies at a time. I had the browned edges but the inner portion of the cookies were on the soft side, so I turned the oven off and left the cookies inside for about 30 minutes. They were crisp at this point. The hot fudge sauce is easy to make and spreads easily. The end result is homemade Milano cookies that taste better-quality than store-bought Milanos. The cookies taste buttery and the chocolate is fudgy. I made the second batch with a thicker layer of fudge.

These copycat Milano cookies are very tasty, but when it comes to making them, they’re not for the faint of heart. You absolutely do not need the Ateco pastry tip, which even in a town the size of Atlanta was impossible to find. I used a disposable Walton pastry bag with no tip. The key is to hold the opening of the pastry bag on the parchment as you move it to keep the cookies thin. I found it far simpler to pipe 3 continuous lines, rounding the ends at the beginning and end with a short segment in the middle as the second stroke. It may take a bit of practice but your technique will improve with each cookie. Making the cookies and the fudge at the same time led to problems for me. I highly recommend making the fudge the night before and refrigerating it overnight in a disposable piping bag. This will allow for a much more satisfying baking experience. Piping the hot fudge onto the cookies was pretty routine, and the end result was great shortbread-like cookies with a rich and super fudgy center.


    1. Melissa, the standard we use is stir, dip, and sweep. We are considering adding weights to the baked goods on the site as more and more people are asking for them–which is such a contrast from when I first started the site in 1999.

      1. PLEASE add weights to your site. Scales are now easy to find, available most anywhere including some grocery stores. Cooking by weight uses less pans, and is much more accurate.

        1. Catherine, we understand and we feel the same. When recipes, such as this one, appear in a cookbook without weights, we ask all our testers to weigh the measured amount and give us the weights and then we add them. The only times you don’t see weights for ingredients, as in this recipe, are when testers had slight variations in the amounts they used and so we’re retesting the recipe to ensure we give you the most accurate information.

    1. Lovely to hear it, Sabrina! Looking forward to hearing what you think. Some unsolicited advice, if I may? Do the hot fudge sauce one day and then refrigerate it overnight and then make the cookies the next day so you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen.

  1. Too funny that this appears just now!

    This afternoon I used your recipe to make the frozen bananas. I had a lot of chocolate left over and a bunch of Trader Joe’s vanilla cookies. I grabbed the cookies and dunked the bottoms in the melted chocolate and made sandwiches of them.

    Bet it would have been much better with your recipe but you use what you’ve got and my husband will have impromptu Milanos while my grandson gets the bananas.

    Thanks for all of it!

    1. Rainey, you are more than welcome! Love your ingenuity. Yes, we use what we’ve got. And you did so brilliantly. Looking forward to hearing which recipe you try next!

  2. I love to cook and bake. I have made many of your recipes. I also live across the street from a major grocery store. For under $5, I can buy a bag of these. I read the recipe and quickly ran and bought a bag. No fuss, no mess, no hunting for special pastry bags and tips, and better yet, no clean up. I’m nibbling on a cookie now…getting crumbs on the keyboard…that is not good.

    1. Stuart, I can understand where you’re coming from, and I’m certain you can understand that for many of our readers, the decision whether to buy or bake something isn’t about the expense or the ease. It’s about trying something for the challenge of it or being able to control the ingredients that are in the food that we give our loved ones.

  3. My family requires mint milanos. Thinking a thin layer of confectioners sugar mint frosting on one side and fudge on the other, then sandwiched?? Maida Heatter has a brownie recipe where she frosts with a thin layer of mint and then a chocolate glaze.

    1. Sure, Candace, you could do that. Or you could simply add a little peppermint extract to the fudge (taste and add as much or as little as desired) and proceed with the recipe.

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