Make the New York Classic: Black and White Cookies

As a lifelong New Yorker, I can attest to a lifelong relationship with the black and white cookie. And yet our relationship has been, well, “complicated.”

See, for a pretty basic dessert, plain yellow cookie base topped with a simple fondant-style icing (half chocolate, half vanilla), it is almost impossible to find one that passes muster.

While the icing is usually acceptable (it’s pretty hard to wreck powdered sugar, water and corn syrup), the cookie inevitably disappoints. Hard. Dry. Bland.

If you’ve ever had one of those ubiquitous shrink-wrapped discs at the local deli or produce market, you know just what I mean.

But here’s the thing: black and whites are SUPER easy to make! Seriously, you don’t need a mixer or any other fancy equipment. They come together quickly. And the homemade cookie is SO superior to store-bought or “bakery” version that you will never eat one that doesn’t come out of your kitchen again.

As Jerry Seinfeld says, “Look to the cookie!”

  • They’re Actually Little Cakes! 1 of 7
    black and white cookie

    You'll notice right away that the batter is more "cake-like" than cookie — and that's really what black and whites are (in fact, legend has it that the cookies were the result of leftover cake batter that bakers made into cookies). This results in a cookie that is more soft and tender, as opposed to crunchy.

  • Give It a Chill! 2 of 7
    black and white cookie

    After an hour in the fridge, the batter thickens nicely, making it easy to scoop out. I like to use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, but a large spoon works too. 

  • Ready to Bake! 3 of 7
    black and white cookie

    Once the batter has chilled, it scoops out beautifully. Don't be tempted to place the mounds close together — the cookies spread quite a bit once they start baking. 

  • Don’t Overbake! 4 of 7
    black and white cookie

    Bake the cookies till just faintly brown around the edges. The underside should be mostly pale; this will result in the most tender cookie.

  • Vanilla! 5 of 7
    black and white cookie

    Now you're ready to ice! Start with the vanilla, and place a generous dollop on one half of the flat side of the cookie. I find it easiest to spread the icing along the center line, and work outward toward the edge. 

  • Chocolate! 6 of 7
    black and white cookie

    Repeat with the chocolate icing — again, starting along the center line and working outward. The cookies will have have a smooth, shiny finish when set.

  • So Much Better Than Store-Bought! 7 of 7
    black and white cookie

    Perfect with an icy cold glass of milk, these classic New York cookies will be a welcome addition at your table — wherever your table is!

Black and White Cookies
from Martha Stewart

For the cookies:
1 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. cake flour
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
2 eggs
¾ c. sugar
½ c. milk
6 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ t. each vanilla and lemon extracts

For the icing:
4 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4 T. light corn syrup (plus more if needed)
1 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted over a pan of barely simmering water

Make the cookies: Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper; set aside. Sift flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs to combine. Continue whisking and gradually add sugar, followed by milk, melted butter and extracts.

Pour liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and whisk till smooth. Cover and chill for one hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Using a  2-ounce scoop, drop five cookies per sheet, spaced 3″ apart. Bake just until the edges are faintly brown, 12-15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over two parchment-lined baking sheets to cool.

Prepare the icing: In a small bowl whisk the confectioner’s sugar with 6T. of hot water and the corn syrup. Using a small angled spatula, generously ice half of each cookie. Return the cookies to the rack as they are iced.

Whisk the melted chocolate into the remaining icing till smooth, adding 2-3 T.of corn syrup if needed to thin it out to the desired consistency. Ice the second half of each cookie (if the icing starts to get stiff, set the bowl over the pan of hot water you used to melt the chocolate and whisk till smooth again). Let cookies set, about 30 minutes.

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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