The Milano Dark Chocolate cookies are manufactured by the Pepperidge Farm, an American commercial bakery founded in 1937 by Margaret Rudkin. The inspiration for the cookies occurred when Margaret boarded the Queen Mary and went on a tasting trip to Europe.
As it seems, the result was a distinctive set of European-style cookies with European sounding names such as Milano Dark Chocolate cookies.
When a product has “dark chocolate” in its name, my brain automatically thinks there’s a high probability of that product being vegan.
And while that may be often true, we must always seek confirmation.
So the real question is… are the Milano dark chocolate cookies vegan? Let’s find out.
Ingredients in Milano Dark Chocolate Cookies
Plenty of people have a soft spot for the Milano dark chocolate cookies because (1), they’re delicious, and (2), they’ve been around for quite some time so it’s a childhood treat.
However, I wouldn’t be excited if I was you.
The Pepperidge Farm company is known for creating products using eggs and dairy, and I’m afraid the Milano dark chocolate cookies aren’t any different.
In fact, here is the list of ingredients:
- Unbleached rich wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], and folic acid)
- Dark chocolate (sugar, chocolate liquor, chocolate liquor processed with alkali [dutched], cocoa butter, butter oil, soy lecithin, vanilla extract)
- Vegetable oils (palm oil and/or interesterified and hydrogenated soybean oil and/or hydrogenated cottonseed oil)
- Egg whites
- Dehydrated skim milk
- Soy lecithin
- Natural flavors
- Leavening (baking soda).
There are four ingredients that are obviously off-limits.
Two of them are pretty obvious, which are typically the ones my non-vegan (but supportive) mom doesn’t miss — one is eggs (and subsequently, egg whites) and dehydrated skim milk because it has the word milk in it.
Dehydrated Skim Milk
Dehydrated skim milk or (dried) whey can be used to replace part of the cheese solids in cheese food or spreads. It is obtained by evaporating milk into a dry powder in order to increase its lifetime.
Butter oil is the fat-concentrate obtained from butter or cream by first removing all the water and respective nonfat solids. Terms like milk fat, anhydrous milk fat, and dry butterfat are also used synonymously with butter oil.
Note On Questionable Ingredients
Other than the most obvious ingredients (eggs, milk, etc), there are some ingredients that continue raising some questions in the vegan community. Not because of their origin, but because of what happens to them prior to being used in a product.
For most people, sugar is an unhealthy ingredient that happens to be highly addicting. No one ever really questions what happens to sugar before it goes into a product.
Generally-speaking, sugar can originate from two sources: sugar canes and sugar beets.
Both have the same taste, and both are used in equal amounts in the United States.
What’s different about them is how they’re processed. While the sugar originated from beets is filtered using a diffuser and mixed with additives to crystallize, cane sugar is filtered and bleached using a property called bone char.
Unfortunately, bone char is obtained by heating the bones of cattle at high temperatures.
This being said, not every company may follow this M.O.
Certain sugar companies use activated charcoal to achieve the same result, and some companies use beet sugar on their products (Red Bull is one), so they don’t need to use bone char.
In some cases, B2C companies source their sugar from different suppliers, and thus their product may contain sugars that have been filtered differently.
In fact, Oreos is one company that is quite transparent about that, which is one of the reasons why they don’t consider their products to be vegan.
While it may make sense that the Pepperidge Farm uses sugar filtered using bone char due to its association with the dairy industry, the only way of knowing for sure is by contacting the company.
However, that is pointless since we know the cookies ain’t vegan.
The Milano Dark Chocolate cookies contain vegetable oils, however, they’re not explicit about which vegetable oil. It may be palm oil, soybean oil or cottonseed oil.
The one I’m more worried about is palm oil.
Unfortunately, the palm oil industry is responsible for massive deforestation, and subsequently, the destruction of natural habitats. When we clear massive areas of land in order to grow palm trees, we’re pushing certain animal species to the verge of extinction.
One case, in particular, is the orangutang. Because of the insatiable demand for palm oil, we’re seeing an astonishing decline in numbers of this species.
Unless we curb this demand or opt for a more sustainable option, we’re going to see orangutans, tigers, elephants and other beautiful animal species disappear.
Palm oil is in one too many products, including vegan-friendly products, but we have to ride against the wave by at least minimizing its consumption.
Vegan Alternative To Milano Dark Chocolate Cookies
Unfortunately, I didn’t find any alternatives to the Milano dark chocolate cookies. However, what I found was a vegan recipe to aid you in making homemade Milano cookies.
This video doesn’t link out to a website, so make you’re focused to avoid missing any ingredients.
Bottom Line: Milano Dark Chocolate Cookies Are Not Vegan.
Sadly, the Milano dark chocolate cookies contain animal-based ingredients. Among them, you can find eggs, whole eggs, butter oil, and dehydrated skim milk.
In addition, there are certain questionable ingredients such as sugar and (potentially) palm oil.
As far as vegan alternatives go, I didn’t find store-bought products similar to the Milano dark chocolate cookies. What I’ve managed to find was a recipe that I’ve shared in a video format right above this conclusion.
Feel free to check it out and let me know how it goes! 🙂