Monday, June 6, 2011

Black and White Cookies

There are a few baked goods that have an iconic, New York status. Cheesecake is one. Another? Black and white cookies. More cake than cookie, this is one confection that brings back childhood memories for me.

I will note that I found these exceptionally difficult to photograph - but I didn't want that to stop me from sharing! So forgive me anyway. And make cookies. 
These cookies are soft, cakey and sweet, but are brought to new levels by the sweet, soft, yet somehow solid icing on top. I remember these cookies being prominent at many occasions in my life - with colors to match. I contemplated doing that here, but then I realized one major problem: there would be no chocolate! Obviously I quickly abandoned that idea.

One things that was really important with this recipe was consistency. No, not always being the same, but the texture, density and viscosity of both the batter and the frosting.  The cookie dough needed to be liquid enough that they would spread in to round, even cookies, but not too much that they would run in to each other. 
And as for the frosting - if it was too thin, it would soak in to the cookie, or become almost invisible. Too thick - and it wouldn't dry nicely and smoothly as is characteristic of good black and white cookies. Trial and error! But as always around here - we eat the errors.

Tip of the Day: If you can, use an spatula to spread the icing instead of a knife - the latter may leave marks from the blade edge.

Recipe: (adapted from here and here) - Makes about 3 dozen small cookies

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 sticks), at room temperature
2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest one lemon
3/4 cups milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 to 2 tablespoons boiling water
1.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate

Beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until mixed. Add in the vanilla and zest and mix until combined.
Alternate adding the milk with the flour, including the baking powder and salt in the last batch of flour.
If necessary, add an additional tablespoon of milk at a time to achieve a cake batter-like texture.
Drop about 2 tablespoonfuls of dough at a time on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. The dough should spread slightly.
Bake on 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes.
While the cookies are baking, mix together the confectioners' sugar, honey and boiling water until smooth.
Spread the icing over half a cooled cookie - if not opaque, add more sugar.
After icing all the cookies with the white frosting, melt the chocolate and add in to the remaining icing mixture. Add more boiling water as necessary to create a smooth icing. Ice the remaining halves of the cookies.


  1. Yum! I love a good black and white cookie- these look more acceptable to eat than the HUGE ones I always see in NYC.

    1. i was thinking the same thing. i went to nyc last summer and fell in love w/ their giant black and white cookies (that were all over the place.) If I knew I could replicate them and make them as good as the nyc bakeries, I would possibly want them "that" huge, but considering i can't make them as good, I would rather mine be smaller