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'Rewrapped' recap: This is no rookie cookie

Season 1 | Episode 8 | “Milano, Milano! I Love You!” | Aired June 2, 2014

In the mint Milano cookie episode of Food Network’s Rewrapped, contestants have only 30 minutes to bake cookies, make a chocolate ganache, whip up a mint filling and put it all together on a plate. There’s a lot going on, but all three contestants — bakers Francesco, Tanya and Johnny — are up for the challenge.

The Milano cookie was born of necessity — when chocolate-dipped cookies started melting on their way to the Southern states, Pepperidge Farm solved the problem by sandwiching two cookies together — and it’s since become a classic. The Rewrapped chefs work to get the perfect Milano texture, aiming for something that is soft and chewy, but still crispy, especially on the golden-brown edges. Paula Deen would be proud of these contestants, all of whom use butter, butter and more butter in their cookie recipes.

After the cookies are piped and put in the oven, the chefs start on their chocolate and mint filings. Judge Irene Chang Britt of Pepperidge Farm is back this week, joining head judge Marc Summers and pastry queen Jenny McCoy. Britt is quick to point out that none of the contestants are doing Milano justice, as all three opt for semisweet chocolate over the traditional dark. Meanwhile, Francesco uses a white chocolate for his mint filling, and Johnny whips up a sweet white icing.

Turns out his icing is a little too vanilla, and the judges give him a score of 19 for cookies that are too bland and not minty enough. Tanya is up next with a too-puffy, too-white cookie that doesn’t have any flavor. She scores 15 out of 30, and the judges move on to Francesco. The Long Island baker has perfectly colored cookies with good taste and nice texture, and he scores 22 points.

Moving on to round 2: All three contestants reveal what they’ll be making for the innovate round! Johnny’s planning on a mint Milano parfait with cake, crumble and cream layers; Tanya is going savory with a breaded lamb chop and mint couscous; and Francesco is working on a chocolate-mint baked pear with some sort of lava cake element.

Tanya pats herself on the back for going savory (and completely jinxes herself in the process), but as Marc Summers points out, it’s pretty predictable that at least one contestant would use the mint flavor to cook lamb. As the second round draws to a close, Tanya is calmly chopping fresh mint as Francesco’s gingersnap molds fall apart and Johnny scrapes burnt, crumbly cake into his parfait. It’s a messy few minutes, but all three dishes look surprisingly delicious once they reach the judges’ table.

Francesco gets high praise for his baked-pear lava cake, but he went a little over the top, with too much going on, too much sugar and burnt gingersnap molds. He scores a respectable 22 out of 30 points, the same as he did in round 1. Tanya’s dish is also too sweet, and her lamb is underdone, earning her only 20 points and putting her out of the running. Last to present is Johnny, whose flavors are good but too salty. And no one likes a salty parfait. He scores 18 out of 30 after needing 26 to win, and Francesco is crowned the winner! He’ll take home a year’s supply of mint Milano cookies, and can go on making baked pears (with or without that gingersnap mess) for the next 365 days.

Next week on Rewrapped, the contestants take on the Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet! Will you be tuning in?

Rewrapped airs on Mondays at 8/7 C on Food Network.

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