March 30, 2013 by Meg G.
When I was in high school, I ditched the middle school lunchbox for cafeteria lunches. Most days I skipped the hot lunch line and went straight for the bagels. This healthy midday meal was usually rounded out by a Snapple iced tea and a giant black and white cookie. How about some carbs and sugar with your carbs and sugar?
If you grew up in the tri-state area, you might share my fond memories of these giant vanilla and chocolate cookies. Black and whites usually have a cake-like cookie base and are covered with half chocolate and half vanilla icing.
The cake-like texture comes from – you guessed it – cake flour. I had a hard time finding it in my local grocery store, but you can make your own with this helpful tutorial from Joy. I’ll let you decide if you’d rather search for cake flour that you might only use once in a blue moon, or sift flour and cornstarch over and over and over again. Whichever you choose, I promise it will be totally worth it!
Deb’s original confectioner’s sugar icing recipe is included below, but since I was short on time, I frosted these with some leftover white royal icing and topped them with chocolate sprinkles. This recipe makes about 2 dozen large cookies and 60 medium-sized cookies – so you may want some extra hands for frosting and extra mouths for eating (or not). Here goes!
Black and White Cookies – adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (I used lemon zest)
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Mix by machine or hand until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then milk and vanilla and lemon extracts (or lemon zest), and mix until smooth. Scrape down bowl.
3. In medium bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until mixed. Add dry mixture to the wet in batches, stirring well after each addition. Using a soup spoon, place heaping spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until edges begin to brown, about 18 minutes. Cool completely.
For Deb’s Icing:
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup water
- 3 ounces very bitter or unsweetened chocolate
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (optional)
1. Boil a cup or so of water in a small pot. Place confectioners’ sugar in large, heat-safe mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a thick, spreadable mixture. Err on the side of caution, as you can always thin it out later. Leave remaining boiling water on the stove.
2. Spread frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie. Once all cookie halves have been frosted, place the bowl of the remaining frosting over the hot water and bring it back to a simmer (creating a double-boiler). Stir in the bitter or unsweetened chocolate until melted, as well as the light corn syrup. At this point, depending on the chocolate you used and your preferences, you might find the chocolate color to be a little lighter than the “black” of a black-and-white cookie. If so, a tablespoon or so of cocoa mixed in darkens the color nicely.
3. Ice the remaining half of the cookies with the chocolate frosting. The chocolate–especially with cocoa in it–is especially prone to getting too dry, so you may need to whisk in an extra teaspoon of hot water to smooth it back into a shiny frosting.
4. Let the frosting set and then store in an airtight container.
Deb points out that these cookies have a tendency to dry out quickly (because of the cake-like base), so they’re best on the first or second day.
These lovelies are light and airy with just a hint of lemony freshness. I ate a few of them without any frosting and they were delightful! When I added the royal icing and sprinkles, they actually reminded me of those soft baked sugar cookies that are in the bakery section of your grocery store. So while they wound up being pretty different from my high school favorites, they did not disappoint.
Wishing you all a very Happy Easter! Enjoy!