I love New York. I miss it so much it causes a physical ache. I love the energy, the people, the smell, the food. Okay, this could get embarrassing. I should stop.
My father grew up in the projects, in the Bronx. We went back many times to visit my family, including my famous (well, famous among my friends anyway), Aunt Bernice. From the moment I first visited, I wanted nothing more than to live there. In high school and college, I studied at The Joseph Papp Public Theater and The American Academy of the Dramatic Arts. I explored every part of that city and I loved every moment. Even when I complained about the trains (oh, how naive I was!) and the weather. I loved it. I hope that if you haven’t been, you go. I hope you love it. I hope you call me so I can give a list as long as my leg of cool stuff to do.
Anyway- to the food. The thing I most associate with New York is the Black and White Cookie. I had my first from some random deli in Times Square, but the best (in my humble opinion) is at Moishe’s in the East Village. Every time I go back, I make a pilgrimage there to eat my beloved childhood favorite. Of course, I don’t get to go back as often as I like so…. fortunately for me, Deb over at Smitten Kitchen has created a recipe I can make here that satisfies my cravings. Moishe’s (and New York) will always have my heart, but this is an excellent substitute.
Black and White Cookes
from Deb at Smitten Kitchen
Yield: About 2 dozen large cookies
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
3 ounces very bitter or unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon light corn syrup.
1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Mix by machine or hand until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and lemon extracts, and mix until smooth.
3. In medium bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until mixed. Add dry mixture to the wet in batches, stirring well after each addition. Using a soup spoon, place heaping spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until edges begin to brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
4. Boil a cup or so of water in a small pot. Place confectioners’ sugar in large, heat-safe mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a thick, spreadable mixture. Err on the side of caution because a too-thin frosting is hard to undo. Leave remaining boiling water on the stove.
5. Spread frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie. Once all cookie halves have been frosted, place the bowl of the remaining frosting over the hot water and bring it back to a simmer (creating a double-boiler). Stir in the bitter or unsweetened chocolate until melted, as well as the light corn syrup. At this point, depending on the chocolate you used and your preferences, you might find the chocolate color to be a little lighter than the “black” of a black-and-white cookie. If so, I find that a tablespoon or so of cocoa mixed in darkens the color nicely.
6. Ice the remaining half of the cookies with the chocolate frosting. I find that the chocolate–especially with cocoa in it–is especially prone to getting too dry, so don’t worry about whisking in an extra teaspoon of that hot water from time to time to smooth it back into a shiny frosting.
7. Let the frosting set. Store in an airtight container. These cookies keep for a few days, but I think they’re best on the first or second. Because of the cake nature of the bases, they can get stale quickly.