New York Style "Black and White" Cookies. While I've never had the "real" Black and White cookies from New York, I've always wanted to try them at home. The story behind the black and white cookies begins with the earlier days when bakeries would make the cookies out of leftover cake batter... I guess it would make sense, because the batter for these cookies are similar to that of a cake. When baked in small mounds, the result is that of a soft cake-like cookie. And that's exactly how these cookies are.... soft, tender, and cake-like. Though once associated as being a New York-only cookie, these days, you can probably find them outside of New York. And well, ... you can even make them at home.
These cookies aren't that difficult to make and bake... it's the actual decorating that's more of a challenge. Oh, and getting the black and white icing to be just right. It can be done. But it does take time, patience and sometimes.... practice:). The cookie sort of reminds me of a soft cake doughnut. One day, I'd love to try the real cookie in New York city.... just to see the difference. So here's "sweet #7" in a series. Hope you enjoy...
Note: While I chose to make the cookies as close to the original as possible, I would love to change the flavorings next time, by using other types of extracts, or even some orange/lemon peel.
The original is quite plain and rather sweet... it may appeal to some and not to others. So feel free to make the cookie your own... add whatever you like... or not add anything, but the lemon extract for that matter:).
Tip: Cookbook says that you can use lemon juice in a pinch if you don't have a lemon extract... which is what I ended up doing.
You will need: adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
Makes about 48 smaller cookies and 24 larger cookies. I personally liked the smaller version cookie.... though it will take a bit longer to decorate.
4 cups (16 ounces) cake flour( I used 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 8 TBS cornstarch)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 ex-large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon extract (I used 2 tsps meyer lemon juice. Do not use lemon oil.. too strong.)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp princess cookie extract, optional* (I added)
* I would also use an almond extract for a non-traditional flavor.
1/4 cup light corn syrup*
1/3 cup water
5 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract( for non-traditional you could add some almond extract, rum, etc)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate – melted ( I used semisweet chocolate chips and added a 1 TBS dark cocoa+ 1 TBS oil )
2-4 tsp. water( or as needed to get it to spreading consistency)
* this makes the icing shiny, but I am sure you could probably omit, or even add honey instead, or a brown rice sugar syrup, etc.
FOR THE COOKIES:
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. The cookbook recommends baking two cookie sheets at a time and rotating them halfway through baking. You could also bake one sheet at a time.... it just takes longer, but cookies sometimes bake more evenly that way.
2. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes.
3. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract( or juice and/or other extract if using) until combined, about 30 seconds, while stopping and scraping down the bowl as needed.
4. Reduce the speed to low and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then add half of the milk. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture, and the remaining milk. Beat in the remaining 1/3 flour mixture until combined.
5. Using a 1 1/2 TBS cookie scoop( or 1/4-cup for larger cookies), scoop mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing each cookie about 2 inches apart. You can use the back of the spoon or even a wet finger to smooth the tops of the cookies, if needed. I didn't bother with this.
6. Bake the cookies until the edges are just beginning to to turn light golden brown, about 15 minutes( see note above if using 2 sheets). The cookies are done when the tops spring back when pressed. These are mostly a pale cookie... not too golden, as they will be overcooked. The bottoms may sometimes get a bit golden, though.
7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
FOR THE ICINGS:
1. In a medium saucepan add the corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla(you could also add some almond extract or lemon peel, etc for a more non-traditional cookie) until smooth.
3. Measure 1/2 of the icing into a separate bowl and whisk in the melted chocolate( if using chocolate chips add cocoa + oil as well.) and 2 to 4 teaspoons of the water as needed until the mixture is smooth and spreadable. You can add a bit more water if you find the icing too thick.
3. Place 2 large wire racks over parchment paper for easy cleanup... or if you are like me and don't have a wire rack, just use some parchment paper.
4. Ice half of each cookie with the white icing. I use a spatula and allow some icing to" fall" in a straight line down the middle, and then continue to add another "line" of icing next to the previous one... and do this until I end up at the bottom of the cookie. Will then use my spatula to smooth out the icing, as well as scrape off some of the excess around the edge. But you can do the icing however it is easier for you.
5. Place iced cookies on the wire rack( or parchment paper, as in my case) to dry.
6. Repeat with chocolate icing for the other half. You may need to add a tiny bit of water/or warm up the chocolate icing to make it spreadable again.
7. Allow cookies to dry.
I ended up having a hard time with getting the icing to look "just right" around the edges. It bothered me quite a bit, so, I chose to use a sharp round cookie cutter to "trim" the edges. Then I was fine:)... and my husband was happy to eat the cookie edges:).