Black and White Cookies

August 17, 2010 at 5:53 am (Chocolate, Cookies, Vanilla)

Ok.  So I sort of fail again at blogging.  I’ve now skipped a bunch of weeks and I might go back to them at some point, but I’m not going to worry about doing so from here on out because otherwise I’ll never blog.  So without further ado:  this week’s recipe!

Black and White Cookies

Now for me, black and white cookies are all about childhood – they were just this special treat when I was little. They’re also of course, all about NYC – and you don’t often see them outside of NYC. They’re not really a “cookie” in the traditional sense – technically they’re drop cakes, and they should taste and look more cake-like than cookie-like.

For cookies (makes 16 normal* cookies)

*Black and white cookies are traditionally ~7″ in diameter, which means “normal” cookies are quite large

  • 2/3 cup (10 2/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large egg

Vanilla Icing:

  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, divided

Chocolate Icing:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Make cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

  1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, beating until combined well.
  4. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk and vanilla alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture.  (Add in 5 batches – 1/3 of the flour mixture then 1/3 cup buttermilk + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and so on.)  Mix until smooth.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet.  You may need to flatten the batter a bit so it’s roughly a 1/4″ deep at all points.  Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool, about 10 minutes.   Note:  smaller cookies are just as good, and make the recipe a bit more useful for me.  I wanted a larger number of cookies so I used a tablespoon sized amount of batter, and got cookies ~3-4″ in diameter.  These cookies will also need to be spread to 1/4″ depth and should be baked 12-14 minutes.
  6. Make icings while cookies chill:
    Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl until smooth.  Do the same in a separate bowl with confectioners sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk until smooth.  Add extra milk as needed to get a thick, but still spreadable consistency.  If too much milk is added, extra sugar/cocoa powder can be added to thicken the icing.

Ice cookies:
The original recipe calls for turning the cookies flat sides up, but that’s not how I remember black and whites looking, so I left the flat side down.  Turning the cookies flat side up does help in the icing process though since it’s less likely that the icing will run over the edges.  An offset rubber spatula is extremely useful for the icing, but a knife might work as well.  Spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half.  I found that the icing did drip over the sides a bit while icing, but it did set up well after being refrigerated overnight.


Everyone was very impressed with the cookie and thought it was delicious.  I found it very authentic as did the few other people with a previous experience with black and whites.




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