Finally, my first real post! I didn’t have time to bake for a while but last week I made a few things, so now I have the posts lined up and ready to go. First up….
Black and white cookies are one of those staple desserts that I’ve grown up with, present in every deli, bagel store, and bakery, and at every bar mitzvah, oneg, and shiva (you know it’s true), yet they were never a favorite dessert of mine. I think because they were always there, I usually passed them up for something else. Then about 8 months ago I was on Pinterest and came across this recipe for homemade black and white cookies. Upon clicking the link, I was shocked to find out that black and white cookies are a “New York thing.” Michelle, of the Brown Eyed Baker blog, described them as “synonymous with New York City bakeries.” In the comments section I found people talking about how they always look forward to black and white cookies when they’re in New York, they make relatives in New York bring them black and white cookies when they visit, and the thing they miss most since moving away from New York is black and white cookies. There were even a handful of people who had never seen or heard of black and white cookies before. My mind was BLOWN. To think, I had been taking these delicious cookies for granted all my life!
So, I decided to make them, and I’m so glad I did. Although I’ve only made them a few times, this has become one of my favorite recipes. They are truly better than any store bought black and white cookies and although they take a while, they’re not too difficult to make. Another thing I learned – the cookie itself has a lemon flavor. Now that I know, it seems so obvious, but I never realized before I made them myself. For this recipe, I follow Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe to a T. The absolute only difference is that I turn the cookies upside down to ice them, so that the icing goes on the flat side and they have that nice rounded bottom that everyone (or so I thought) is used to.
Combining ingredients in the stand mixer.
Right out of the oven. The ones in the top picture are good, but the ones in the bottom picture are a little bit too well done. You can see the brown around the edges in the cookie closest to the camera.
Upside down on the cooling racks. The ones on top are good; the ones on the bottom are definitely too well done. For those cookies I scraped the bottom with a knife so that the brownness wouldn’t show through the vanilla icing.
The vanilla icing stayed pretty well while I was using it but the chocolate kept solidifying pretty quickly. I had to add more warm water and stir a few times.
Black and White Cookies
- 4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 cup milk
- 2oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the Cookies: Adjust the oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- Beat the butter at medium speed for 30 seconds to loosen it up. Keeping the mixer running, gradually add in the sugar and then gradually increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, vanilla and lemon extract. Beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again. With mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour in four additions and the milk in three additions (beginning and ending with flour), and mix until just combined. Give the mixture a few final stirs with a rubber spatula to ensure all of the flour has been incorporated.
- Use a ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets about two inches apart (this will make fairly large cookies). Using moistened fingers, gently press each mound of dough into a 2½-inch circle. Bake until the edges of the cookies are set and light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Making the Icings: Melt the chocolate either in a medium bowl set over a small saucepan over barely-simmering water, or using the microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and corn syrup to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Transfer ¾ cup of the icing to the bowl with the melted chocolate and whisk to combine.
- Ice the Cookies: Place wire racks over wax paper to catch any drips. Turn all of the cookies upside down! This way, you will be icing the bottom/flat side of the cookie and the bottom will be rounded. At this point you can lightly scrape the bottom of the cookies with a knife if they are darker brown than you would like, because the brown will show through the vanilla icing. Be careful not to scrape too hard or the cookie might fall apart.
- Use a small offset spatula to spread about 2 tablespoons of the vanilla icing onto half of each cookie. The icing should move on its own when the cookie is tilted; use the spatula to scrape any excess from around the edges. If the vanilla begins to thicken too much, stir in a teaspoon of warm water at a time until the icing goes back to a smoother, looser consistency. Place the finished cookies on the wire racks and allow to set for at least 15 minutes.
- Again using a small offset spatula, spread the chocolate icing on the half of each cookie, scraping any excess icing from around the edge of the cookies. If the chocolate icing thickens too much, place the bowl on a small saucepan of barely simmering water so that it can re-melt. If it’s still too thick, you can add warm water, a teaspoon at a time, until it returns to the correct consistency. Place the finished cookies on the wire racks and allow to set for at least 1 hour.
- The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you stack the cookies, be sure to place a piece of wax paper between layers. Even with wax paper, there’s a good chance the tops of the cookies will come off if you layer them. Try to avoid layering them too much if possible.
(recipe from Brown Eyed Baker)