Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What’s black and white, and found in a bakery?

If you’re from New York, you don’t even have to think twice about what this post is about…Black and White Cookies.  While it’s still debated about whether it is a cookie or a cake; once you eat one, you won’t even care anymore.  No one can really say who originated the recipe first, but it’s a New York thing, and that won’t be debated.  Every bakery worth’s its flour makes them; they’re as popular for breakfast as bagels and cream cheese.
I tried ordering some online, but the shipping costs were just too high; so who came to the rescue, but my mom.  She was able to find a supply of them at the local supermarket (small ones in a plastic container; large ones individually wrapped), and send them via priority mail.  Receiving the box, opening it and discovering these treats; it was like hitting the lottery big!  I ripped open one of the containers of small black and whites, and ate three; oh the pleasure was indescribable.
Now what the heck is a Black and White Cookie you are asking, if you’ve never had one.  Well, it’s a large round vanilla cakelike cookie; one side is white (vanilla) fondant, the other is black (chocolate).  Fondant is a thick frosting that can be softened up enough to spread like frosting; then hardens up to remain on the item it has covered.  The fondant will have the same shiny consistency that rolled out fondant has; it’s just easier to get on the cookie when spread as a frosting.  That’s the best way I can describe them; you’ll just have to eat one to truly understand.
There will come a day when I will attempt to make these delights myself, but until then….Mom!!!!!!

Black and White Cookies
To Make the Cookie
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½  cups plus 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1 tsp melted butter
½  tsp salt
½  cup plus 2 Tbsp nonfat dry milk
1 tsp light corn syrup
3 eggs
4 cups plus 2 Tbsp cake flour
1 ½  tsp baking powder
2/3 cup cold water
1 ½  tsp vanilla
Pre-heat the oven for 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, medium-high speed; beat together the sugar, shortening, butter, and salt; add in nonfat dry milk and corn syrup; cream together.  Gradually add in one egg at a time until mixture becomes fluffy.
In a large bowl, combine the cake flour and the baking powder in a separate bowl.  Add 1/3 of dry ingredients plus 1/3 cup of water to creamed batter.  When well incorporated, add 1/3 of dry plus other 1/3 of water; when well mixed, add last of dry ingredients and mix well.
Using two cookie sheets, nest one cookie sheet inside the other to make a double-thick cookie sheet; line the top cookie sheet with baker’s parchment paper.   Hint: For a guide, draw 3” circles on one side of the parchment paper with a pencil; place pencil side down on cookie sheet.  Spread batter over the 3” circles; make sure thickness is even (1/4” will puff up to ½” thickness).
Bake for 18 minutes; remove cookies to wire rack to cool.
Makes 18 cookies.
To Make the Frostings
Vanilla Fondant
2 ½ cups fondant powder (found in stores that supply cake decorating supplies)
¼  cup cold water
2 tsp vanilla
Put tap water in the bottom of a double boiler and bring to a simmer.  To the upper part of the double boiler, add the fondant powder, ¼ cup cold water and vanilla   Keep extra cold water nearby as fondant tends to be a dry frosting; without sufficient water the frosting will dry too fast, harden, and crack on the cookie. When the ingredients are well blended and thin (it should run slowly off of a spoon), frost one half of the cooled cookies; set aside to allow the frosting to harden.
Chocolate Fondant
2 ½ cups fondant powder
¼ cup cold water
2 tsp vanilla
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips  
Follow the directions for the vanilla fondant, but include the chocolate chips. When the frosting is melted and well mixed, frost the other half of the cookies. Make sure the vanilla frosting has set before starting to frost them with the chocolate frosting.
Let the cookies continue to set on a wire rack. When the frosting is no longer warm and pliable, you can store the cookies individually in food storage bags or wrapped in wax paper.  
Mary Cokenour

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