Feb 15, 2012

Black & White Cookies

The Black & White cookie.  A classic deli favorite for many New Yorkers.  And according to Seinfeld, 'a metaphor for racial harmony, we should LOOK to the cookie Elaine!'

 This recipe actually caught my eye when I was going through my new cookbook, 'Baking with The Cake Boss' by Buddy Valastro (thanks Mom).

If you don't know Buddy yew betta ax somebaaady (that's in a thick Jur-zee accent of course).  Buddy, owner of Carlo's Bakey in Hoboken New Jersey is your typical American-Italian guido, and simply adorable.  He's got gold chains, slicked-back thick black hair, a gang of kids, a wife with poufy hair…I know he sounds Lebanese, right?  Yes, the two breeds are very similar.   

Carlo's bakery became all the rage for their elaborate cakes and typical American-Italian style confectionery menu.  But their reality show 'Cake Boss' is what made them famous.  Broadcast on TLC, Cake Boss explores what it takes on a day-to-day basis to run the bakery  (which by the way has a line out the door and down the street on a daily basis, that’s a lot of friggin cookies).

So back to the Black & White.  This cookie is pretty straight forward.  But don't let the simplicity fool you.  It's elegant, timeless, and can make anyone happy.  The texture of the cookie is what surprised me the most.  It's not cake and it's not cookie…it's a spongy-somewhere-in-the-middle little treat.  The frosting on top gives just enough sweetness without over-powering the bite. 

I wasn't happy with the frosting recipe from Buddy.  You need to cook it over a double broiler and once taken off the heat it cools off in no-time which means you need to move your ass fast.  This is not easy when you've got 12 cookies to ice and you've got to make sure you get that line down the middle perfectly straight.  I had to re-heat it twice in the microwave which ultimately sent the chocolate frosting directly into the trash.  I guess you could say it got...well, I burned it. 

SO, I found a friendlier, more forgiving recipe from Epicurious…sorry Buddy.  For sure you can bust these cookies out in no time with frosting pretty as a picture, but me - not so much.  The recipe I found calls for corn syrup (and no heat required!) which gives this amazing elasticity to the frosting making your life so much easier.

Black & White Cookie
Makes 12 cookies

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 extra large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose-flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

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 340 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cream together butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, starting on low and gradually increasing to medium.  You can use a hand mixer if you let the butter soften at room temperature before you begin.  Add eggs, one at a time, paddling for about 1 minute after each addition, then stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl.  Add the milk, vanilla, and lemon juice.  Paddle just until they are absorbed into the mixture.

Sift the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl.  Whisk to combine. 

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture.  Paddle on low speed just until they have been absorbed by the mixture and it is smooth and consistent.  This step doesn't take long at all, so be sure to watch it as you don't want to over mix.  The batter is very thick, but also a bit sticky. 

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.    Using non-stick spray or a dab of butter, lightly spray the corners to glue the paper into place. 

Use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measure scoop to scoop the batter onto the parchment paper, leaving 2 inches in between the cookies.

Bake until the cookies are lightly golden brown, about 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and as soon as the cookies can be moved, use a spatula to transfer them to a rack and let cool.

Transfer the cookies to plates (or place in a zip-lock freezer bag) and freeze for about 10 minutes to firm up.  This helps while icing since the cookies are delicate and could tear from the spatula. Freezing help firm up the cookie.  Brr.

While the cookies are in the freezer, get started preparing the frosting.  Sift confectioners sugar into a medium bowl then add corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water. 

Stir till smooth. 

Transfer half of icing to another bowl and sift in cocoa.  This will guarantee your frosting to be smooth and free of cocoa lumps.

Add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as the white icing.

Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half.  I created a line first so I had somewhat of a guide to help make sure the icing was even.

Using your spatula, gently cover 1/2 the cookie with the white, then repeat on the other side with the chocolate.

  Bite and enjoy.


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