Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Great Black and White Cookie Hunt of 2014

The Husband and I just celebrating six magical years of marriage this past Saturday. We didn't save the top of our wedding cake for our first year (first, it kind of grosses me out to have old frozen cake, second, the cake was so good, there wasn't any left over!). So instead to celebrate, we got a Black and White cookie; they were the favors we had at our wedding. We were fortunate while we lived in Chicago, we had found this adorable grocery shop in our neighborhood, Olivia's Market, that got Black and White cookies shipped in from New York every day.  For our first five years, I didn't think a single thing about our tradition. Every April 26th, I went to Olivia's and picked up a cookie for us.

Now that we live in Pittsburgh, Olivia's Market isn't right down the block. So a few weeks before our anniversary, I started hunting for Black and White cookies. I called our friends here, asking if they knew great bakeries, I drove all over the city (I went to a northern suburb and a southern suburb in one day...we ate a lot of baked goods that day), I called every bakery in and around the Pittsburgh area, and either they didn't have them, they weren't good, or they weren't real Black and White cookies (one place had a chocolate chip cookie with black and white frosting!).

I thought about shipping them in from New York, however The Husband suggested that I try to make them myself. Initially I balked at it, I mean, I didn't want to mess with our tradition, what if they weren't good?! But after some thought (and a few more phone calls) I decided to try it. And I must say, for a first time, they turned out pretty good.

I must say though, it was a good thing that The Husband was working when I made the icing, our kitchen looked like a bomb exploded. The amount of powdered sugar that got every where from making the icing, but that's because I'm a mess-maker when I cook.

Some tips: If you have one, use a silicon pad on your baking sheets, it will help get the cookies up faster. It will also help you spread them out. When you put the batter on the sheet, you don't want to just heap it, or the cookie will bake really high. If you spread the dough out a little, they'll bake flatter.

When you ice the cookies, be sure to put them on a cooling rack, or something that will allow the excess frosting to drip. As these cookies have a cake base, you should eat them quickly, or store them in an airtight container. I'm on day 5 right now, and they still taste delicious.


For the cookies:
1 3/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Unsalted Butter,  room temperature
4 Large Eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 TSP Vanilla Extract
1/4 TSP Lemon Extract
2 1/2 Cups Cake Flour
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 TSP Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Salt

For the icing
5 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1/3 to 1/2 Cup Water
3 Oz  Unsweetened Chocolate
1 TSP Light Corn Syrup
1 to 2 TBS Unsweetened cocoa

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

Combine sugar and butter and mix until fluffy. Add  the eggs one at a time, then milk, vanilla and lemon extracts, and mix until smooth. Scrape down bowl.

Slowly start to add the dry ingredients. I alternated a 1/2 of flour at a time, followed by the baking powder and the salt. Mix until everything is incorporated. The dough will resemble a thicker cake batter and NOT cookie batter. 

Use a soup spoon, and place a heaping spoon of dough onto the silicon (or parchment paper). Remember to smooth out the batter, so that when it bakes, it doesn't rise like little mountains. 

Bake for 18 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies are golden. Make sure to cool completely 

Once the cookies are cooled, begin making the icing. Boil a cup of water.

In a heat proof bowl, put 4 Cups of Confectioners' Sugar and add 1/3 cup of water. When you're making the icing, you don't want to put too much water in to start, if it gets to thin, it will be difficult to thicken up. Add the water slowly and mix. You want the icing to be a thicker consistency, but something that you can still spread. 

Spread the white icing on one half of the FLAT side of the cookie. This icing will drip a little, so be sure to put something below your cooling rack (I used the silicon pads again), or just be prepared to clean up the delicious mess.

Depending on how much icing you added to your cookies, you may need to add a little more of the Confectioners' Sugar and water.

Add a little more water to the pot you just boiled, and place the icing bowl on top. It will work as a makeshift double boiler for making the chocolate. Heat the icing, but be sure to keep stirring as you heat it. Add the Corn Syrup and the Unsweetened Chocolate (save the cocoa powder for a little). Once the chocolate has melted,  look at the color, if it's more brown than black, add 1 TBS of the Cocoa and mix. If it still needs to be a little darker, add more.

Ice the other half of the cookies, this icing will be much thicker than the white side, so it shouldn't run.

Let them stand for 20 minutes (so the icing can set) and then enjoy!


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