Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Black and White Cookies


     As we are preparing for a move to Low Country, South Carolina, we are embracing everything New York.  Patty made these Black and White Cookies for her friends over the weekend.
     Black and White Cookies are soft, cake-like cookies, traditionally iced with half chocolate icing and half vanilla icing.  Black and White’s can be found all over New York City, in Grand Central station and in the New York deli’s.  They remain an unofficial symbol of New York.  Traditional cookies have a mild lemon flavor.  Patty, my baker, prefers almond extract over the lemon.

Patty’s Black and White Cookies

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon (Traditional)  OR 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (Patty)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cups milk

Icing

  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 9 tablespoons milk (more if needed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (Traditional)  OR 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (Patty)
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Grease several cookie sheets
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  3. With your mixer, beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar and cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until it is almost white in color and the texture is fluffy.
  4. Add the extracts, the egg whites - one at a time.  Mix as you add each ingredient.
  5. Add a third of the flour mixture and 1/4 cup of the milk.  Mix until just combined.  Repeat two times.
  6. Drop 1/4 cup sized balls of dough onto the cookie sheets about 5 inches apart.  Wet a spatula with water.  Spread each ball into a 3 inch circle.  Smooth the surface with the spatula.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Edges should be just turning gold.  Let cookies cool on sheets as they come out of the oven.

Icing:

  1. Mix the confectioners’ sugar, milk and extract(s) in a bowl until smooth.  Put half of the icing in another bowl and add the cocoa powder.  Mix until smooth.
  2. Ice the cooled cookies on a wire rack.  Patty suggests laying a piece of wax paper under the wire rack to catch the drips.  If you are icing the cookies half white and half black, draw a straight line across the diameter of each cookie to use as an icing guide.  Another option, is to be creative and make designs.  Let the iced cookies set for 30 minutes on the wire rack in order to set the icing.  

     This recipe yield about 2 dozen cookies.  Cookies should be stored in an airtight container, layered between wax paper.  Cookies will last for up to 3 days.   Well, not in our house, but in theory, they last for 3 days.
     In the comments, tell me where you had your first black and white cookie.  I had mine in Grand Central Station with my Grandmother as a child.
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