Black and White cookies are the perfect finale to any deli experience. If done right, they are soft and tender, rich and smooth. They are the soul mate to an icy, cold glass of milk. This particular recipe from the All-American Cookie Book is that kind of nostalgic deli-style black and white.
For me, though, there’s one glitch in making these cookies even with the perfect recipe. The problem with me and Black and Whites is that I am kind of a mad scientist type of chef in the kitchen and Black and Whites SHOULD have a crisp and tidy appearance if done properly. In the perfect cookie world, Black and Whites should have a straight line running down the middle where the chocolate and vanilla icings nicely cohabitate.
I get to visit that world if, and only if, my gracious husband is willing to do the “let’s make it look nice” part. Luckily, he iced these gorgeous Deli-Counter worthy B&W’s for me and took the photo to boot! He is a graphic artist by trade, and he can make things look like a professional pastry chef just waltzed through my kitchen. He was not taught any pastry skills, but I think he just got so flabbergasted at seeing my baking projects turn into kindergarten-style Picassos and my kitchen look like a chocolate Pollock painting (the splatter painted ones if you are not familiar) that he finally dove right in and never looked back.
When left to my own devices, strings of chocolate grace my kitchen counters, some end up on the drawers, maybe a fingerprint on the cabinet and of course, on the chef herself…sans apron. I don’t believe in aprons. It’s a thing with me. I like to, figuratively and literally, get my hands dirty (and t-shirts!). Life’s messy, I’m a bit messy and my baking is SUPER MESSY. That’s just how I roll. I make no apologies for it…I’m a bit of a performance artist if you will. ;P
Baking is my art, the kitchen is my studio, and my medium is chocolate! It feeds my heart, my soul and my family. Luckily for me, like the black and white cookie, I have found my better half…the one who balances out my chaos, polishes my rough edges and makes things shiny for me. If your cookies turn out a little less than perfect, don’t fret—taste is what matters, and you just might be a performance artist too!
Black and White Cookies
from the All-American Cookie Book by NancyBaggett
This recipe makes about 10 large cookies.
3 c. all purpose flour
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1 1 /3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. (1 stick plus 2 2/3 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 c. white vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
2 1/2 t. vanilla
2 t. light corn syrup
3/4 t. lemon extract (I use 2 tsp squeezed lemon juice)
1/3 c. sour cream
Vanilla and Chocolate Fondants
1/4 c. light corn syrup
5 c. powdered sugar (sifted after measuring)
3/4 t. vanilla extract
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, sugar and shortening with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer. Add eggs, vanilla, lemon juice or extract and light corn syrup. Combine together on medium speed. In a separate mixing bowl, put in flour, baking soda and salt and whisk to disperse ingredients. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and then 1/3 of the sour cream. Cream together with mixer. Repeat until all of the flour and sour cream are incorporated. Don’t over mix.
On a cookie sheet with either parchment paper or a Silpat (rubber nonstick mat), drop large ice cream scoop-fulls of cookie three across and three down (for large Black and Whites). Bake for for 12-14 minutes depending on your oven. They should be just slightly browned around the edges and the tops should spring back when lightly touched. After cooling for 1-2 minutes, transfer cookies with spatula to a wire rack. Let cool completely before icing.
To make the Fondants…in a medium heavy saucepan, bring 1/2 c. water and the corn syrup just to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla with a wire whisk, getting out all lumps and whisking until perfectly smooth. Place the chopped chocolate in a deep, small bowl. Pour 2/3 of the hot vanilla fondant over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is partly melted. Pour another 1/2 c. of vanilla fondant over the chocolate. Stirring constantly, thin the chocolate out with 2-4 teaspoons of HOT water. Add only one teaspoon at a time and stir.
Set the wire racks with the cookies on top over wax paper or aluminum foil. Using a small, wide-bladed spatula or spreader, ice half of the cookies with the chocolate fondant. If the fondant stiffens while you work, thin it by thoroughly stirring in another 1-2 teaspoons of HOT water. If necessary, adjust the consistency of the vanilla fondant by stirring in additional powdered sugar or hot water until fluid but not runny. Ice the second half of each cookie with the vanilla fondant. Let the cookies stand until the icing sets, at least 2 hours and preferably 4 hours or at my house it was about 30 minutes and they were JUST FINE! These cookies are best eaten the same day. They are OK the next day but forget about day 3…just make sure to eat them all up.