It is official. I am back! To all my faithful readers, I truly appreciate your loyalty and patience. Through all of the bumps in the road, the one constant, familiar, happy place - is and will always be - my kitchen.
Last weekend was a lazy weekend. There was a chilly crispness in the air that betrayed the bright sunlight. Luckily for me, I was able to spend a day with my best little girl in the world, MaryJo. We began the day with an indulgent breakfast at the world-renowned, world famous IHOP. The best place for strawberry syrup....so I'm told. I believe that 8 year-olds can be considered syrup aficionados. After filling our bellies, we embarked on a day of baking in a sunny kitchen.
Decisions, decisions. What should we bake? We curled up on the couch with a few of my favorite cookbooks and began looking at the pictures. If you've never discussed the merits of chocolate frosting versus ginger-laced cookies with an 8 year-old, I highly recommend it. It's inspiring. By the way, chocolate always wins.
Each recipe caused us to pause and consider the list of ingredients. I knew she was humoring me as we read through the list. The truth - if the picture didn't make her swoon, it was crossed off and had no hope of ending up in a cookie jar.
We proceeded to mix these delicate sponge-like cookies. From cracking eggs and measuring flour, she tried to be so precise. She has the makings of a master baker, I'm so proud. The Black and Whites only take about 12 minutes to bake. But, be careful not to over bake these cookies. If you do, you will miss out on the sponge-like texture. Frankly, you'll miss the point.
Once completely - and I mean completely cooled, we embarked on the frosting. The toughest part about making these New York wonders was having to make a little girl "wait' to frost them. Frosting was the most fun. To get that perfect black and white line, it is easier to frost all of the cookies with the white frosting first and let them set. Then, we came back for round 2 to frost the other side with gooey chocolate frosting. Oh, my! It was a perfect day.
Black and White Cookies
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Black and White Icing (Recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and shortening until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
Line baking pans with Silpat nonstick baking mats or parchment paper. Using a 2-ounce scoop, drop five cookies per pan, 3 inches apart. Bake until edges are slightly light brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Black and White Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tablesppons of boiling water
Whisk cream into sugar until smooth. This is your white frosting. Frost one half of each cookie until the white frosting is set. Return cookies to rack to drip, if necessary.
Combine cocoa with boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add to remaining sugar mixture. Stir to combine for black icing. Use immediately, and frost the other side of each cookie. Spread chocolate frosting over second half of each cookie. Allow cookies to set, about 10 minutes.