Friday, May 21, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 20

Seinfeld was, and will likely always be, my favorite television show of all time.  I was sad when the show ended.  I miss that show still to this day and whenever I happen onto an old episode, there's something about it that I just can't tear myself away from.  And then there are the episodes with lines that somehow creep into my everyday life.  Little jokes between my husband and me.  The countless times I'll have lunch with a friend; Kevin will ask me what I ordered.  I'll tell him I had a salad and he'll respond with, "Was it a BIG salad?"

I loved the episode where Jerry and Elaine were in a bustling NYC bakery to pick up a chocolate babka before going to a dinner party.  While waiting for the babka, Jerry buys a famous New York Deli Black and White Cookie.  I had never heard of a black and white cookie before that episode.  I still had never eaten one.  So, I decided to make some New York Deli Black and White Cookies and see what all the fuss was about.  And just for your entertainment, I decided to look for the episode on YouTube so you'll see for yourself how intriguing Jerry makes this cookie sound!  Click on "episode" above, turn on your volume and prepare to laugh!

Just like Jerry, Owen "looks to the cookie!"

I picked up this recipe for Black and White Cookies on Allrecipes .com.  This is the first place I look when I want to do a search for a recipe.  The reviews are very helpful, and the selection of recipes is top notch.  Bookmark it so you can refer to it often.

Black and White Cookies
Here's What You Need:
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Here's What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  I recommend that you either warm the milk slightly or at the very least, measure it out ahead of time and let it come to room temperature.  If you add ice cold milk to the creamed butter/sugar/egg mixture, your butter is going to go into shock and "curdle" up a bit.  Not what you want.  When you know your milk is "safe" go ahead and slowly add it to the bowl with the mixer on low so the milk doesn't slop out.  Add the vanilla and lemon extracts as well.  I did not have lemon extract so I just used more vanilla in its place.  In another medium sized bowl, combine the two different flours, baking powder and salt.  Give it a whisk and then slowly add it to the other mixture with the mixer on low.  Turn the mixer up to medium just to ensure everything is thoroughly combined, but be sure not to overmix.  It will create one tough cookie.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto a lined or buttered cookie sheet.  These cookies are meant to be big.  When I was searching for the Seinfeld clip, I came across a little download featuring Duff Goldman (from Ace of Cakes) making Black and White Cookies.  I had already put one cookie sheet in the oven by then and they came out slighly "domed."  Duff instructs you to dip a teaspoon into water and use that to smooth or spread out the cookie dough.  Once I tried that little trick, I no longer had "domed" cookies!  So, do that!

The recipe I used said to bake for 20-30 minutes.  No way was I going to set my timer for that long.  I set it for 15 minutes and they were definately ready to come out of the oven.  I have no clue where they got 20-30 minutes from!  Let the cookies cool completely and then you can move onto the icing part of the cookies; the part that truly makes them "black and white."

There are several recipes for the icing on a black and white cookie.  Here is the one I decided to go with and I am very pleased with the outcome.

6 cups powdered sugar, divided
4 Tablespoons light corn syrup, divided
2 Tablespoons softened butter, divided
3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/4 cup cocoa
hot water

In a medium sized bowl, combine 3 cups powdered sugar, 2 T. corn syrup, 1 T. butter and 1 1/2 t. vanilla extract.  Use a whisk or whisk attachment of a mixer to combine.  Add enough hot water to get a somewhat thin consistency.  You don't want it thick like for a sugar cookie or frosting a cake.  But not so thin that it just pours like a glaze.  Try to strike a balance here.  Ice half of each cookie ON THE BOTTOMS!  I don't know why this is, but you ice the bottom.  The bottom becomes the top. 

Glad that doesn't happen with humans!  Sorry, sometimes I write too much of what I'm thinking!

Now, after you have all the bottoms of the cookies iced half with the white icing, mix up another batch.  Same ingredients and amounts, only add the cocoa this time.  Mix it up and then ice the other half of the cookies with the black (chocolate) icing.  Let them sit a bit so the icing can set up.

Results...a cookie worth making again.  I like that these have a unique taste, texture and look and they really appealed to my kiddos.  You don't see cookies like these in bakeries here in central Ohio.

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