the black and white cookie of my childhood

what kind of a new york girl would i be without lots of tasty, crumb-y memories of my all-time favorite childhood cookie – the black and white. granted, it was a bakery specialty – never to be made at home – always to be bought as a special treat from the home bakery or conti’s. but just looking at those magical discs, all lined up on their special shelf behind the counter, would make me plead with grandma or my mom for just one. and just thinking about them now makes me crave the taste of that rich cake-like cookie and its sweet and gooey chocolate and vanilla frosting combo. alas, i’ve never seen one in seattle, so if it’s a craving for a black and white that i have, well, then, i’d better get baking!

this recipe was passed along by my sister-in-law. she swore they looked and tasted just like the originals. so, rolling up my sleeves, i set out to make the perfect homemade black and white cookie. i followed the instructions to a tee, even giving up my preferred parchment-lined baking sheets for greased ones. and the end result? yummy cookies, indeed! but not quite the cookies of my youth. could it be i was missing a magical ingredient? or perhaps, as i suspect may be the case, that as i’ve gotten older, my cookie tastes have changed? whatever my feelings about black and white cookies, these are certainly worth the effort, especially if you’re providing snacks to a roomful of children! they will most certainly love them!

black and white cookies

ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
5 cups cake flour (you can use unbleached white flour, but the texture will be a bit different)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

instructions:
1. preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. grease 2 baking sheets.
3. mix sugar and butter until fluffy.
4. add eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
5. in separate bowl, combine and mix flour, baking powder and salt
6. add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. stir lightly.
7. add milk and stir lightly again.
8. add remaining flour mixture — combine just until mixed, but do not overmix.
9. using a soup spoon, or a large scoop (like an ice cream scoop), drop mixture on cookie sheets two inches apart.
10. bake for 15 minutes, just until edges brown.

white (vanilla) glaze
ingredients:
3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk

instructions:
mix until smooth. if too thick, add more milk one tsp. at a time until spreadable.
makes 1 cup.

black (chocolate) glaze
ingredients:
3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
6 tbsp. unsweetened sifted cocoa powder
1/4 to 3/4 cup milk (add gradually to see how much is actually needed)

instructions:
mix until smooth. if too thick, add more milk one tsp. at a time until spreadable. makes 1 1/4 cup.

frosting instructions:
ice cookies with white half first, then black half. allow to dry completely.
after icing is dry, wrap each cookie individually in plastic wrap or baggie. they store better when they are packed this way.

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