Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let's Hear It for the Black and White

  This morning I made a batch of cookies that have been on my radar screen for a couple of years - the 'black and white'. This familiar cookie is soft, sponge-like disc with white icing on one side and chocolate (black) on the other half. The ones I made were minis eliminating the dilemma of what side to eat first  - these are small enough to eat all at once, not to mention less calories!
   The black and white cookie is a New York tradition. Upstate New York and New England claim them as well. According to Wikipedia, the Half-Moons were born in Utica, New York at Hemstrought's Bakery in the early part of the 20th century. Unfortunately, this famous bakery is now closed. In New England they're called Halfs and Halfs. 
  The 'real' Black and Whites have a drier, cookie-like base and fondant frosting. To further make the point that this is a New York original, there was actually a Seinfeld episode called 'The Dinner Party". In a clip (viewable on YouTube),  Jerry eats a black and white cookie while waiting in a bakery with Elaine and like most Seinfeld episodes Jerry utters a memorable line: "Look to the cookie. Look to the cookie." It's pretty funny!
  But anyway, here's the recipe. As I usually do, I changed the milk to 1% milk and it didn't seem to make a difference. They were pretty easy to make, but the icing got a little sloppy probably due to my inexperience. You'll need about a half hour for prep time and about the same for icing once they're cooled. 


1.25c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2c granulated sugar
I egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2c buttermilk (I used 1% regular milk)

2c confectioners sugar
Itablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
i tabespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
water to dilute.

•Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
•Sift first three ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt) together and set aside.
•Using an electric mixed, cream butter and sugar for a few minutes. 
•Add egg and vanilla.
•Add flour mixture a little at a time alternating with milk until fully mixed.
•Drop small rounded balls onto parchment paper (use a teaspoon) about 2 inches apart.
•Bake about 10 minutes until you see the bottoms brown slightly. 
•Cool on wire racks.

•Combine confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl.Hand whisk until it looks smooth. 
•Divide in half and mix cocoa in one part.
•Ice one side first, let set for a bout 30 minutes then ice the other side. Let dry again until set.

Tomorrow: The Year of the Rosette, Part 1

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