Okay, so I may have lied a little bit six days ago when I said I’d be posting soon, and also when I said it would involve soft pretzels, Chinese almond cookies, and/or puff pastry.
You’ll have to forgive me, though, because it was a trip to Brent’s Deli that got in the way, and I think anyone who’s been there will be able to explain to those who haven’t that my straying was only natural. After all, when you wait for half an hour in front of a bake case filled with babka, rugelach, and bread pudding, it’s difficult to remember your resolutions.
There’s always one to which I fall victim, though; it’s dogged me since our family trips to Jerry’s Deli in Westwood to meet visiting relatives when I was a little girl, and retains its hold over this 23-year-old today. Seriously – can anyone look at one of those giant black and white cookies and not fall in love?
I suspect that much of this stems both from my love of frosting and from the fact that a giant black and white cookie doesn’t ask you to choose between chocolate and vanilla. But, like so many good-looking confections, those massive cookies always disappointed me a bit when I dug in. While they’re meant to be cakey – and are even mixed like cake batter – I remember them always being…dry. Crumbly. The frosting was great, sure, but the cookie itself eventually shifted my loyalty to other bake case items.
But now that I have my own pretty little Kitchenaid, and my (shared) pretty little kitchen, I’m taking back the black and white cookie. I’ve reduced the size a bit – because, let’s face it, nobody’s going to grab a salad plate-sized cookie from the Tupperware in the kitchen at work – and upped the moisture quotient on the cookie itself. They’re fun to decorate, easy to make, and pretty darn good – even without the icing.
Black & White Cookies
Adapted from Epicurious
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar [*Alli’s note: I split this, 1/4 cup white and 1/4 cup brown sugar]
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. 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 and cool completely.
Make icings while cookies cool:
Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing.
Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half.