Thursday, November 12, 2009

Black and Whites

I'm finally back from the Golan! I must say that it is absolutely beautiful up there. We spent time hiking and sight seeing, including rafting on the Jordan River and a boat ride on the beautiful Kineret. I continue to be astonished and in awe of Israel every time I see it and this time seeing the mountains and terrain of the Golan Heights, including a view of the snowcapped Hermon mountain was absolutely breathtaking. I could live there. Anyway, on to the post. It's been pretty rare that I make something from my childhood and on the first go, it hits the nail on the head in perfect imitation of the memory. The first time it happened was with the Italian Scali Bread. The second was a couple of days ago when I made these Black and White Cookies. Generally most commonly associated with New York delis, these to me are just a mainstay of any Jewish bakery. I always loved the thick, opaque frosting. How you could pull it off without damaging either the frosting or the cookie because it was so thick. I especially loved the vanilla, although now that I think of it, they were pretty cloyingly sweet. Still I have a fond place for them in my memory, and sadly, they don't really exist in Israel. I stumbled across this recipe in my recipe files when I was trying to downsize. Having all the ingredients on hand, I decided to make it. The batter pretty much comes together quite simply, with the buttermilk giving it that perfect background tang. I was nervous that the cookies were too pale, but they set up perfectly. The most challenging part of this recipe was frosting- not that it was challenging. Rather, it was a bit messy. I cant give an exact recipe for the frostings because I just threw together some sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and water until I was pleased with the consistency. Then I added enough cocoa to the remainder to get a chocolate frosting. I added a tiny drop of lemon to the vanilla frosting based on some recipes I had heard of though I must admit, when eaten plain it was rather unpleasantly lemony. Thankfully, on the cookie, the flavor was perfectly balanced. It just... worked. And the chocolate frosting was exactly what I remembered. The whole cookie was simply perfect. I cant wait to make these again, in their regular jumbo sizes. These cookies met with rave reviews, even landing in one of my girls' top two! I was pretty impressed with these myself. The next challenge? Making them parve.

Black and Whites
from Gourmet

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup well shaken buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Powdered Sugar
Corn syrup
Cocoa Powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.Place the flour, leavening and salt on piece of parchment. Whisk and set aside.

In a measuring cup place the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir and set aside.
Place the margarine and sugar in a bowl.
Cream until light and fluffy.
Add the egg,
and beat to combine.
Add the dry ingredients a third at a time,

alternating with the buttermilk.
Here is the final batter.
Scoop with a small muffin scoop onto the baking sheet leaving room for spreading. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden.
Remove to a rack to cool once set. Assemble the frostings.
Spread one half of the cookies with the vanilla frosting. Allow to set.
Frost the other halves with the chocolate frosting. Allow to set completely. Enjoy!!!

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