I never did get around to finding that perfect apple cake recipe to start the New Year.
Instead, my Rosh Hashona went something like this: Sleep. Temple. Midday nap. Family dinner. [repeat].
There was reflection, as is usually the case at this time of year. But, by the second day, I was ready to do something more.
For me, that usually means, going into the kitchen.
While I was inspired to bake, but not the aforementioned apple cake. Instead, my thoughts turned to another quintessential Jewish (at least in my mind) treat: the black and white cookie. Perhaps it was seeing the grocery store version on my parents’ dining room tablea last minute purchase to satisfy a craving, no doubt, and one that left me thinking, I could do it better.
And, I could.
This sounds arrogant, I know. But, don’t be fooled.
These cookies only look impressive. They’re actually unbelievably easy to make. First, you whip up moist buttermilk cakes, just slightly sweet and with a light crumb, that take minutes to bake up, and, while they’re cooling you mix your icing. In no time at all, you’ll have a new holiday recipe. Or, a new go-to cookie even if it’s not your holiday.
Either way, may your days be marked with sweetness.
Black and White Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Gourmet, by way of Epicurious
Note that I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, to make smaller cookies as I’ve always found the bakery size to be a little too large. If you want bakery size, place measure the batter out with a 1/4 cup, set the cookies 2 inches apart on your baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes instead. The measurements and instructions remain the same otherwise.
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
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
To make the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer about 3 minutes, until it is pale and fluffy. Next, 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 1/8 cups of batter about 1.5 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, 12 to 15 minutes.
Take the cookies off of the baking sheet, and transfer onto a wire rack or room temperature plates, allowing the cookies to cool.
To make the icings:
While the cookies chill, 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.
To ice cookies:
Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half. Allow the cookies to sit for at least an hour before serving to give the icing time to harden.
Makes 16 cookies