Evidently, the question, "Who makes the best Black and White Cookie?" is hotly debated in New York, both throughout the state and all five boroughs of the city. Not being from New York, I did a little "research" on the interwebs, and came across lots of lively discussions about where to find the best Black and White Cookie.
This month, the Creative Cookie Exchange bakers are baking decorated cookies. I didn't want to get too ambitious after the decorated Easter egg cookie with royal icing debacle, and while sprinkles are a natural for me (they hide everything!), I decided I needed to try something different.
I'm a big fan of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the authors of the Baked series of cookbooks, as well as owners of two Baked locations in NYC. so I turned to their book, Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, which is where I found out about Black and White Cookies (by the way, they have four books, all of which I own. I recommend their newest, Baked Occasions for giving this holiday season. The cover will make your recipients smile happily).
These cookies are really tender little cakes flavored with vanilla and a hint of lemon zest. The glaze is is spread in a thin layer on each half of the cookie. They are really tasty, and they were a big hit with my grandkids. While they are large, you can easily cut them in half. And as Jerry Seinfeld says, you should eat a little chocolate and vanilla in each bite.
What I didn't realize until it was too late is that the glaze is supposed to go on the FLAT side of the cookie! In other words, they should be glazed upside down. Doh! Oh well. This just means I'll have to make them again.
After the recipe, be sure to check out the rest of the decorated cookies from the Creative Cookie Exchange.
Black and White Cookies
For the cookies
- 3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cool, not cold
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
For the Icing
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 to 5 tablespoons whole milk
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (stand or hand held) until fluffy, about two minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the flour in three steps, alternating with the buttermilk, added in two steps, mixing until just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the vanilla and lemon zest.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, scoop the batter onto the pans, allowing about three inches between each cookie. You should get no more than six cookies per half sheet pan.
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 17 minutes. The edges should be slightly golden, and the center should spring back when slightly touched.
- Cool the cookies on the pan on a rack for five minutes, and then remove from the pan and cool on a rack completely.
- To make the icing, mix the sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla. The icing should be spreadable, but thin enough to not look like cake frosting.
- Spread the vanilla frosting over half of the flat side of the cookie with an offset spatula. Let the frosting set for about 20 minutes.
- Add the chocolate to the rest of the icing and whisk. Add water, by the teaspoon, until you get a similar consistency to the vanilla icing. Spread the chocolate icing over the other half of the cookie. Let the icing set or at least an hour.
- These cookies are best served within 24 hours, but will keep for up to three days if kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
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