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Black & White Cookies

Nothing says New York quite like these classic cookies!


These cake-like cookies called "black & whites" are found in every deli and bodega in all five boroughs. But just as ubiquitous is their frequent dry and dense texture. The following recipe uses buttermilk to make a tender and moist cookie that is as delectable as the icing. Speaking of icing, black & whites are usually frosted on the bottom, flat side of the cookie. If the icing is your favorite part, try frosting cookies right-side-up on the rounded side…a modern improvement on this oldie-but-oh-so-very-goodie!

Equipment: large and small mixing bowls; wet and dry measuring cups, measuring spoons, standing or hand mixer; rubber spatula, rimmed sheet pan or cookie sheet; parchment paper or silicone baking liner; metal spatula; cooling rack; whisk

for the cookies: 2½ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs


for the vanilla icing: 1½ cups confectioner’s sugar 1 tablespoon light corn syrup 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon water

for the chocolate icing: 1½ cups confectioner’s sugar 1 tablespoon light corn syrup 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons water 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.


2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a wet measuring cup, stir together buttermilk and vanilla extract.


3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (3 batches for the flour, 2 for the buttermilk) until smooth.


4. Spoon ¼ cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a lined baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and chill for 15 minutes before icing.


5. Meanwhile, prepare the icings. Whisk together the ingredients in two separate bowls, adding more water, ½teaspoon at a time, to thin the chocolate icing to the same consistency as the vanilla icing.


6. Turn the cookies flat-side-up for the classic way to frost them--or leave them rounded-side-up for the ILOC way--spreading first the white icing over the half of each cookie and then the chocolate over the other half.


Makes 16 cookies.


"I love to make these cookies to show school spirit or for a patriotic holiday treat the ILOC way: frosting on the rounded side!"


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