SHF/IMBB – Cookie Swap

by Jeanne

          Bt1105_1

It’s a party this month for the annual Cookie Swap!  IMMB and SHF are jointly  hosting the mega-event via Alberto at Il Forno and Jennifer at Domestic Goddess.  Aren’t they just the sweetest?

The key to eating a black and white cookie, is to get some black and some white in each bite.  "Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate."  so says Jerry Seinfeld in a now classic episode of the show.

‘Black and Whites’ are the quintessential New York deli cookie.  The Upper Eastside’s William Greenberg Bakery  began making these delights in the late 1940s and maintains the tradition today.  They have a cakey domed base and vanilla and chocolate frostings. Zabar’s in NYC makes a killer version. There are many versions–the best I can tell you is to stay away from the plastic wrapped versions. My mother made her own version of these cookies and called them ‘Half Moons’ which I think is far more creative than the former name.  According to a 2001 NY Times article, Molly O’Niell explains, "Outside New York, cookies with black-and-white icing are cookies with black-and-white icing. In Boston, where they are called half-moons, and in the Midwest, where they are known as harlequins, they are considered ordinary and have been around, say most bakers, "forever."

In this spirit I have re-created the cookie and have a new name, ‘Black & Tans.’  This speaks to my love of this flavor combination and my Irish heritage. Chocolate on one side and on the other, peanut butter a perfect marriage.  Sophisticated, comfort food no matter which way you decide to eat it.

BLACK & TANS

This recipe is a hodgepodge creation.  The cookie base is from the current issue of Gourmet.  I found the icings to be well, quirky.  It may be my distaste for frostings that have a heavy confectioner’s sugar taste combined with the overly sweet tones of light corn syrup.  What’s wrong with buttercreams?!  I say mask that confectioner’s sugar and so I did.  Purists will say that this is more of a frosting and it’s missing a sheen.  But it’s my version and I don’t think you’ll complain at all.

Cookie Base

Gourmet Magazine, December, 2005

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

Prepare cookies:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing just until smooth.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed, edges are pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a rack to cool. Note:  Although not indicated in recipe these can be prepared a day ahead.  Store in tightly sealed container.

My Peanut Butter Frosting

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 1/2 tblspns unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/4 cup half and half

Mix peanut  butter and butter together with a hand mixer.  Gradually blend in the sugar and half-and half.  Blend until fluffy and light.  Can be prepared a day or two in advance, tightly wrapped, and refrigerated.  Allow to come to room temperature before using.

My Chocolate Frosting

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa such as Periginotti

2 1/2 tblspns unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/4 cup half and half

Mix cocoa and butter together with a hand mixer.  Gradually blend in the sugar and half-and half.  Blend until fluffy and light.  Can be prepared a day or two in advance, tightly wrapped, and refrigerated.  Allow to come to room temperature before using.

Assemble cookies:
With offset spatula, spread peanut butter icing over half of flat side of each cookie. Starting with cookies you iced first, spread chocolate icing over other half.

Tagged with Cookie Swap, IMBB, SHF, Peanut Butter

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