Baking Martha's Black and White Cookies

>> Monday, September 27, 2010

Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook Black and White Cookies
Prior to my adventure to bake recipe number 5 out of 173 in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, my knowledge of the Black and White Cookie was limited to the Seinfeld episode. I see this cookie occasionally in glass bakery cases and recall Jerry's assertion to "look to the cookie" for racial harmony. 

“You see, Elaine, the key to eating a black and white cookie is that you wanna get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate. And yet still somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie, all our problems would be solved.”

Sadly it seems this New York specialty cookie was born not to show us how everyone can get along but as a way for local bakeries to use their leftover cake batter for extra profit. A little extra flour was tossed in with the batter and a cookie was made. Regardless of why this cookie exists, I'm glad I got to know it. Cake never tasted better as a cookie.

Black and White Cookies
page 78 from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 10 T unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 C vegetable shortening
  • 1 C plus 3 T sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C heavy cream
  • Black and White Icings (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping sides as needed.
  3. Add whole eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beat until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the cream. Beat until just combined; do not overmix.
  5. Use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop dough 3 inches apart onto prepared sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges just begin to turn golden and the centers are cakey and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from parchment and let cool completely. 
  6. On the flat side (bottom) of each cookie, use a small offset spatula to spread the chocolate icing over one half of the cookie, creating a line straight down the center. Spread white frosting on the other half. Set cookies aside until icing is set, about 30 minutes. 
Makes about 18 cookies; these cookies taste best the day after they are made. Wrap in plastic and keep overnight at room temperature.
Black and White Icings
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 3-1/2 C confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 5 T dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 6 T boiling water
  1. Whisk cream into sugar until smooth. Set aside 1-1/4 cups for white icing.
  2. Combine cocoa and boiling water, stir until dissolved. Add to remaining icing mixture; stir to combine. Use immediately. 
Ingredients, take your mark!
Whisk all dry ingredients together, set aside.
Beat the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at at time and beat just until each is incorporated.
After eggs and vanilla have been added.
Beat in the flour and cream in alternating batches, careful not to overmix the batter.
This cookie is very cake like even in the consistency of its batter, I can't even call it dough.
But I can call it yum! You raw egg naysayers can just zip it and step back so there's more for me.
I used my 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to perfectly scoop out each portioned cookie. Yet again, Martha's cookie recipe makes exactly the number of cookies called for in the recipe. Leaving only a scant amount of batter left for licking off fingers.
I definitely recommend using ice cream scoops for cookies and filling cupcake liners.
I think this is the most perfectly spaced cookies I've ever done. And I didn't use a ruler, as Martha suggests. Who does that?
Bake, little guys, bake!
Wow! They turned out beautifully. This is a dream cookie batter.
Cooling...the toughest thing for a child to witness.
The kidlets had to go to bed before I got to the icing, so they each received one unfrosted, warm cookie.
It was darn tootin' tasty just like that. I was a mom hero.
Time to make the icing. And my happiness with the cookie begins to wane.
Raise your hand if you're considering licking the screen right now. *raises both hands*
I did a substitution here. I could not find this dutch-processed cocoa Martha speaks of.
*glares again at Martha's hard to find ingredients without warning*
In its place I used baking cocoa. I'm not sure if that's the reason my chocolate icing failed to set.
I'd rather lay blame on the chocolate not setting on the fact the recipe calls for 6 T of water to dissolve 5 T of cocoa.
Velvety smooth and ready to be added to the set aside portion of white icing. However, this chocolate stayed far too runny.
Time to frost the cookies.
It's very easy to frost these. Start with chocolate then sweep the white right up to the center line of the chocolate.
My only cookie casualty. It slipped right out of my hand during the vanilla frositng phase.
My man benefited from this tiny disaster.
I added additional powdered sugar to the chocolate but could never get it to thicken and therefore set like the white.
Chocolate problems aside, check out this cookie. It has great taste and texture, and is a big cookie!

This is one tasty cookie. The icing needs improvement. I'm not sure if my substitution of baking cocoa for dutch processed cocoa made the difference or if there was just an error and that was far too much water. I'm thinking I could divide the sugar from the beginning, sift my cocoa into my sugar, then dissolve together by whisking into the cream. It might work. Definitely a good excuse to try these again. I think they'd make great pumpkin cookies for Halloween. Tint the white icing orange and add chocolate faces? Or tint orange and yellow icings and make candy corn colored cookies. Yep, this is a definite recipe repeater.

I bought my first bakery black and white cookie and the kids unanimously declared mine, um, I mean, Martha's the winner.


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